Gillibrand: Putting An End To Congressional Conflicts

September 23, 2020

From Senator Gillibrand:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), lead sponsor and author of the original STOCK Act, and Representative Katie Porter (D-CA), member of the House Financial Services Committee, announced the STOCK Act 2.0, bicameral legislation that would expand the STOCK Act to strengthen disclosure rules and prevent individuals in trusted positions of public service — including members of Congress, their families, and their staffs — from using their access for self-enrichment. Senator Gillibrand and Rep. Porter have been leading advocates for increasing transparency and accountability in Congress.

“As Congress appropriates trillions of dollars in COVID relief, we must ensure our elected officials are not lining their pockets with taxpayer money,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We’ve seen members of Congress benefit from relief programs like the PPP, while small businesses around the country couldn’t get support and closed. Unfortunately, this abuse didn’t start this year, and without disclosure, we just don’t know how far it goes. The STOCK Act 2.0 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. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Porter on this legislation to take important steps to end these abuses.”

“When government officials abuse their positions for personal gain, that violates the trust of the American people that we act in their best interest,” Congresswoman Porter said. “Transparency and disclosure are necessary tools that help the public hold powerful people accountable, and that’s exactly what the STOCK Act 2.0 provides. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when Congress has allocated trillions for relief are on the line, I’m proud to partner with Senator Gillibrand on this important legislation that would crack down on politicians seeking to enrich themselves off the pandemic.”

The original STOCK Act bars a member of Congress, the president, 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 increase and expand transparency to ensure Congress isn’t lining its pockets with taxpayer dollars. Specifically, proposed updates to the STOCK Act would:

Require officials and staff covered under the STOCK Act, to report any time they, a spouse, or a dependent, applies for or receives a benefit of value from the Federal government. This includes loan agreements, contracts, grants, or any other type of transfer of value as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, or the appropriate ethics committee. It does NOT include Salary or compensation, tax refunds, or reimbursement of personal outlays.

Update to Reporting Website
The appropriate legislative or executive committee must update the public website to ensure that it is searchable, downloadable, and easily accessible.

The legislation is supported by American Family Voices, California Clean Money Campaign, Center for Responsive Politics, Communications Workers of America (CWA), End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund, Environmental Working Group, Government Information Watch, NAACP, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Oxfam America, Patriotic Millionaires, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Public Citizen, and Take On Wall Street.