Almost One In Five Members Of Congress Have Violated The STOCK Act of 2012

Between the years 2019 and 2021, 3,700 reported stock trades were made by U.S. Senators, congressmen, or their immediate family members involving firms that operated in sectors that overlapped with their committee assignments.

Business Insider reports that 72 members of congress violated the STOCK Act of 2012.

The New York Times and other news outlets report that 97 current U.S. Senators and congressmen have been involved in trades that included potential conflicts of interest.

While some of those instances overlap, almost 20% of the people serving in congress have either violated the STOCK Act or are involved in stock trading where they receive non-public information in the industry where their trades took place.

The STOCK Act was signed into law by President Obama and is described as: “The STOCK Act makes it clear that if members of Congress use nonpublic information to gain an unfair advantage in the market, then they are breaking the law. It creates new disclosure requirements and new measures of accountability and transparency for thousands of federal employees. That is a good and necessary thing. We were sent here to serve the American people and look out for their interests — not to look out for our own interests.”

Chip Roy (R.-Texas) said, “The American people don’t want us day trading for profit, and engaging in active trading of the very equities that are connected to the policies that we are deciding on and voting on every day.” While Roy is right, things are not changing.

As it stands, lawmakers who violate the STOCK Act are usually fined. However, the penalty is usually as small as $200 and oftentimes the penalties are waived by ethics officials in congress. This Business Insider article highlights many in congress who were caught in violation of the STOCK Act.

Tightening control on stock trading for members of congress is a bipartisan issue in that leaders from both sides have made pushes to tighten laws. At the same time, people are making money and the changes are coming much more slowly than many would like.