Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) announced today that he has reintroduced the Restoring Trust in Public Servants Act, a bill that would prohibit a huge array of federal politicians and officials – including members of Congress, executive branch officials, and federal judges – from owning or trading individual stocks.
“This bill is intended to set a standard across our entire government because all public servants, especially those at the highest levels, owe the people they serve their undivided attention and loyalty,” Kim said in a statement. “Americans deserve to have complete faith in the people who choose to serve in our government as well as the people they elect, and this bill would be a first step in restoring that trust.”
If enacted, the bill would ban stock ownership for a wide range of groups: “members of Congress, their spouses and dependent children, and all congressional staff; the President, Vice President, all political appointees, and senior executive branch employees already required to file under the STOCK Act; and federal judges.” It also includes a lifetime ban on lobbying for former members of Congress, as well as other anti-corruption provisions.
The movement to ban congressional stock trading was very prominent last year, though it fizzled out before any legislation was passed. With Congress now divided between the parties, it’s not clear whether a similar push will happen again – and even if it does take off, it’s unlikely that Kim’s wide-ranging bill would be the one that makes it through Congress.
Last session, the focus was on multiple other bills narrowly restricting stock trading among members of Congress, particularly a bill led by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) that got 75 cosponsors. Kim’s more expansive bill, meanwhile, never gained another cosponsor.