Feb. 6, 2012
Enact Legislation to Prevent ‘Congressional Insider Trading’
House Leaders No Longer Can Stand in the Way of Much-Needed Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives should adopt legislation similar to the version that the Senate passed last week that would prevent congressional insider trading, Public Citizen said in a letter sent today to Congress.
Public Citizen praised the Senate’s actions last week of strengthening and adopting the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” (STOCK) Act, and President Barack Obama already has said he will sign the STOCK Act into law once it reaches his desk.
“Only one roadblock remains to passage of this important ethics legislation against congressional insider trading – and that is the House leadership,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen. “It is time for House leaders to recognize they no longer can stand in the way, and allow Congress to vote on the STOCK Act without any undermining amendments.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor pulled the STOCK Act (H.R. 1148) from consideration when it was heading for congressional approval two months ago. Since then, the legislation, sponsored by Reps. Timothy Walz (D-Minn.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), has reached 280 cosponsors – Republicans and Democrats alike. The Senate last week adopted the STOCK Act (S. 2038) by a 96-3 vote, after reinstating an important provision that requires “political intelligence consultants,” those whose business is to glean information from members of Congress and staff for purposes of stock trading, to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act and regularly disclose their clients and activities.
Cantor now has decided to proceed with a floor vote on the STOCK Act this week, but it remains to be seen in what form.
“It is critical that the final STOCK Act preserve the key political intelligence disclosure provision and include the Senate’s provision to repair the honest services fraud enforcement statute to fight corruption,” said Lisa Gilbert, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “If the House moves the ball forward with a strong bill, it will be the most significant ethics legislation adopted by the 112thCongress.”
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.