Josh Hawley says Republicans should ban congressional stock trading as their top priority in 2023 after Democratic efforts falter

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri speaks in front of a backdrop featuring an image of a huge American flag during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit held at the Tampa Convention Center on July 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit held at the Tampa Convention Center on July 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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  • Hawley says GOP leaders should make banning congressional stock trading their top priority.

  • "This ought to be something we pledge to do," the GOP senator and likely 2024 presidential contender said.

  • Congressional Democrats have floated various trading bans but haven't found a unifying fix.

Sen. Josh Hawley strongly urged GOP colleagues to take the lead on rooting out corruption in the federal government by making a congressional stock trade ban their top priority next year.

"Republicans need to get serious about rooting out this corruption, it has got to be priority number one. By the way, Congress can start with itself. You want to talk about not doing self-dealing? How about Congress pass an actual stock trading ban?" the Missouri Republican and anticipated 2024 presidential contender told Fox News on Wednesday night, adding, "This ought to be something that we pledge to do."

While the trading ban pitch was just a wind-up for floating purges at the Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigations — just some of the law enforcement agencies conservative Republicans can't wait to investigate should they regain power in the midterm elections — Hawley's enthusiasm for curbing potential conflicts of interest on Capitol Hill stands in stark contrast with other congressional leaders' 2023 priorities.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell skewered the polarizing "Rescue America" blueprint Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida shopped around this spring, telling reporters that his goal was to make the November elections a referendum on President Joe Biden.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently declared that the first thing he'll do if he becomes speaker is try to shut off the IRS funding included in the sweeping healthcare, climate, and tax package that Democrats moved through both chambers without support from a single Republican.

It's less surprising that Hawley's also at odds with congressional Democrats on this one.

But staking out the position does allow him to tacitly dunk on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for leaving the anti-corruption mantle up for grabs in the wake of Insider's ongoing Conflicted Congress project — which has uncovered dozens of STOCK Act violations, numerous potential conflicts of interests driven by lawmakers' stock holdings, and paltry enforcement of anti-insider trading rules,

Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, who has co-authored one of the leading stock trade banning proposals, called for new leadership in her party after House Democrats dropped a controversial counterproposal right before leaving town until after the elections.

"It was written to create confusion surrounding reform efforts and complicate a straightforward reform priority," Spanberger said, adding that it was deliberately "designed to fail."

Fellow stock trading ban advocate Sen. Jeff Merkley announced a few weeks earlier that Senate Democrats were punting their own compromise bundle into the lame-duck session. "It's not going to happen before the election," the Oregon Democrat told Insider.

Hawley's stock trading proposal, which only applies to congressional members and their spouses, currently has no cosponsors and is less comprehensive than many of the languishing Democratic proposals.

Read the original article on Business Insider