Press Releases

Rep. Porter, Sen. Gillibrand Introduce Bill to Ban Government Officials from Owning Stocks

STOCK Act 2.0 would restrict, expose financial conflicts of interest for high-level government officials

Today, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced the introduction of strengthened legislation to crack down on financial conflicts of interest in all three branches of government. Their improved  STOCK Act 2.0 is Congress’ most comprehensive effort yet to eliminate corruption and establish strict ethics standards for Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, the President, the Vice President, leaders of the Federal Reserve, and their families.

“Americans should be able to trust that government officials make decisions in the interests of the people—not their stock portfolios,” said Rep. Porter. “People in positions of power should be held to the highest ethical standards to eliminate conflicts of interest. My STOCK Act 2.0—which is led by Senator Gillibrand, author of the original STOCK Act, in the Senate—would increase transparency and hold government officials and their families accountable if they abuse Americans’ trust for personal financial gain.”

“The American people need to know that their elected leaders are putting their constituents’ interests – not their own financial interests – first. That is the job we were sent to Washington to do,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The improved STOCK Act 2.0 bars trusted public servants from trading individual stocks and would require elected officials and high-level staff to disclose when they apply for or receive a benefit of value from the government — the same way they would report a stock transaction – and penalize them for failing to comply. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Porter on this legislation to help end these abuses and give Americans confidence that Congress is acting solely in the national interest.”  

The original STOCK Act barred members of Congress, the President, the Vice President, and high-level staff from engaging in insider trading or otherwise using nonpublic information for their own benefit. It also included important updates to financial transparency by requiring these high-ranking government officials to expeditiously disclose financial transactions to the public. The STOCK Act 2.0 would expand the list of high-level individuals and their families who must adhere to these requirements, strengthen disclosure rules, and restrict additional conflicts of interest to prevent Members of Congress and other public servants from lining their pockets with taxpayer dollars and profiting from their position of power.

Specifically, the STOCK Act 2.0 would:

  • Require Reporting of Federal Benefits: Requires Members of Congress, senior congressional staff, the President, Vice President, executive branch senior employees, the federal judiciary, and their spouses and dependents to report any time they apply for or receive a benefit of value from the federal government, including loans, agreements, contracts, and grants. A report must be filed within 30 days after receiving notification or receipt and not more than 45 days after payment is made or promised. Failure to file would result in a penalty of $5,000.
  • Increase Penalties for Failure to File STOCK Act Transaction Reports: Increases from $200 to $1,000 the penalty for failing to file transaction reports as required by the STOCK Act.
  • Expand the STOCK Act to Federal Reserve Bank Leaders: Expands STOCK Act requirements—banning insider trading or otherwise using nonpublic information for an individual’s own benefit and expeditious public disclosure of financial transactions—to Federal Reserve Bank presidents, vice presidents, and members of the Federal Reserve boards of directors.
  • Ban Stock Trading and Conflicts of Interest: Prohibits Members of Congress, the President and Vice President, Supreme Court justices, Federal Reserve Board Governors and Reserve Bank Presidents and Vice Presidents, and their spouses and dependents from owning individual stocks except for stocks that spouses receive as payment from their primary employer. Failure to comply would lead to a fine of not less than 10% of the value of the covered financial interest that was purchased or sold in violation of this ban.
  • Provide Transparency of Financial Disclosure Reports: The supervising ethics agencies for those covered under the STOCK Act must provide public access to personal financial disclosure reports and STOCK Act transaction reports and ensure they are searchable, downloadable, and easily accessible.

Ethics advocacy organizations like California Clean Money Campaign, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund, Environmental Working Group, Fix the Court, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Oxfam America, Patriotic Millionaires, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), and Public Citizen have endorsed Rep. Porter’s STOCK Act 2.0.

“Americans deserve government officials who represent the peoples' interests, and not the interests of their stock portfolios," said Debra Perlin, Policy Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “By prohibiting members of Congress, federal judges, Supreme Court justices, and members of the Federal Reserve from owning or trading individual stocks--and improving the STOCK Act's deficient disclosure and enforcement regimes--Senator Gillibrand and Rep. Porter's STOCK Act 2.0 would give Americans more confidence that their government is truly working on their behalf."

Since joining Congress, Rep. Porter has been a staunch advocate for government accountability and transparency. She founded and co-chairs the End Corruption Caucus, an initiative to get Washington back to serving the people—not special interests. She also led a successful effort to implement a new rule to shed light on conflicts of interest in Congressional hearings and introduced legislation that would close loopholes that enable Administration officials to skirt the constitutionally-mandated Senate confirmation process. Earlier this year, Rep. Porter reintroduced her bill to boost transparency of how Congressmembers spend their time and she leads by example by disclosing the meetings she takes each month.