Tester Backs Legislation to Ban Corrupt Stock Trading By Members of Congress

ETHICS Act would prohibit members of Congress and their direct family members from owning or trading securities, commodities, or futures

Continuing his efforts to ensure Members of Congress are held to the highest possible ethics standards, U.S. Senator Jon Tester joined his colleagues in introducing the Ending Trading and Holdings in Congressional Stocks (ETHICS) Act to ban congressional stock trading. 

“Too many folks in Washington would rather line their own pockets than lift a finger to help working families,” said Tester. “Montanans elected me to defend our state and take on the special interests and massive corporations that are jacking up costs. It’s simple—no one in Congress should be buying or selling individuals stocks. That’s why it’s past time we ban Members of Congress from stock trading, so we can ensure our elected officials aren’t putting their own interests before the public trust.”

Tester’s ETHICS Act would bar members of Congress, their spouses, and dependent children from owning or trading individual stocks, securities, commodities, or futures. Lawmakers often have advance notice of investigations, hearings, and legislation that can impact stock prices, or can move markets by supporting or enacting policy changes that affect specific companies or industries. The ETHICS Act strengthens congressional ethics, bans conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest, and increases transparency in Congress.  

The ETHICS Act includes strong penalties with enforcement by respective Congressional Ethics Offices. If Members or their covered family members continue to hold or trade in violation of the Act, the fine will be at least the value of the Members’ monthly pay. The ETHICS Act also expands on disclosure requirements under Tester’s 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.  

Throughout his time in the Senate, Tester has been one of the leading advocates in Congress for holding Members of Congress to the highest ethical standard. Tester led the push to pass his STOCK Act, which banned insider trading in Congress. He previously introduced his Cleaning Up Washington’s Act to close the revolving door between D.C. lobbyists and Capitol Hill by banning former members of Congress and the Executive Branch from lobbying for five years upon leaving civil service.

The first two bills Tester introduced this Congress are aimed at getting dark money out of politics. His “Corporations Are Not People” Constitutional Amendment would overturn the Citizens United decision and give Congress greater authority to regulate our campaign finance system. His Sunlight for Unaccountable Non-profits (SUN) Act requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make public information about big money donors who give more than $5,000 to certain tax-exempt groups that engage in political activity. Tester is also the only member of the Montana delegation to post his post his daily public schedule online.

Full text of the legislation as introduced in the Senate is available HERE.