WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) last week to introduce the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, legislation that will prohibit members of Congress and senior congressional staff from abusing their positions for personal financial gain.
“Members of Congress serve the American people, not their stock portfolios,” said Brown. “Elected officials have access to nonpublic information that can affect individual companies and entire industries. There must be more accountability and transparency to prevent members from using this information and abusing their positions for personal gain.”
“Conflicted trading, in which legislators and top staff trade in stocks while making decisions affecting their value, is a blatant abuse of power,” said Merkley. “Members of Congress and their staffs should be working for the American people, not abusing their public office to get rich.”
Brown and Merkley introduced this bill last Congress in response to multiple scandals in recent years in which members of Congress were found buying and selling stocks in certain industries, while at the same time crafting legislation that affects those industries.
The Ban Conflicted Trading Act would bar members of Congress and senior congressional staff from buying or selling individual stocks and other investments, and from serving on any corporate boards, while in office.
New members would be allowed to sell individual holdings within six months of being elected, and sitting members of Congress would be allowed to sell individual holdings within six months after enactment of the bill. Alternatively, members of Congress could choose to hold existing investments while in office—with no option for trading until they leave office—or transfer them to a blind trust. Members of Congress would still be allowed to hold widely held investments, such as diversified mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
A copy of the Ban Conflicted Trading Act can be found here.