Senators Introduce Bill to Ban Members of Congress from Trading
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a bill - the "Ban Conflicted Trading Act" - that would prohibit members of Congress from trading (including short-selling) securities, commodities and futures. Under the proposed legislation, members of Congress would be prohibited from serving as officers or members of any board of any for-profit association, corporation or other entity.
In addition to sitting members of Congress, the Act would apply to officers or employees of Congress required to file a report under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
The Act provides as exceptions: (i) investments that were held before the member of Congress took office and (ii) divestitures, so that an individual can sell his or her investment over the six-month period beginning on the date the person took office or the effective date of the Act. The Act also allows the Select Committee on Ethics to authorize a covered person to place securities in a qualified blind trust on a case-by-case basis.
The Act sets forth that an official who fails to comply would be subject to a civil penalty of not less than 10 percent of the value of the investment that was purchased or sold.
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