WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX) and Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME) introduced the Dismantling Investments in Violation of Ethical Standards through Trusts (DIVEST) Act.
The DIVEST Act would prohibit senior federal employees and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks while working in the Executive Branch. Investments into diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and U.S. Treasury bonds would be exempt.
At a time when public trust in our government institutions is at an all-time low, this is the moment to raise the standards for public servants. Several bills have been introduced that would limit the ability of Members of Congress as well as their spouses and dependents to actively buy and sell stocks, primarily by placing certain financial assets in a blind trust.
However, Members of Congress are not the only government officials who have access to sensitive information influencing stock trades and creating conflicts of interest in policy making.
Scrutiny must also be directed towards high-level executive branch officials who have similar access to sensitive information. This information could lead to a conflict of interest in crafting industry rules and regulations, or an unfair advantage in stock performance.
Congressman Cloud firmly believes that any effort to strengthen ethics requirements for Members of Congress should be balanced by similarly strict requirements for career civil servants.
“A great disservice is done to our nation when public servants are able to profit off access to sensitive information while working on behalf of the American people,” Congressman Cloud said. “We must do all we can to ensure government officials are serving Americans, not their own stock portfolio. I’m delighted to work with Congressman Golden in leading the DIVEST Act to raise the standard of service and accountability from our executive branch.”
“No matter what party is in power, we should have no doubt that our government officials are working for the American people, not trying to make a quick buck for themselves. I’m glad to work with Congressman Cloud to lead the bipartisan DIVEST Act, which would explicitly ban the president, vice president, and other senior federal officials from trading stocks while in office,” said Rep. Golden. “While we continue to push for a ban on Members of Congress trading stocks, we also need legislation like the DIVEST Act to address the potential for corruption in the executive branch.”