June 7, 2017
Groups Urge Congress to Shine Light on Secret Industry That Taps Congressional Sources for Inside Information
Reps. Slaughter and Duncan Introduce Bipartisan ‘Political Intelligence Transparency Act’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Good government groups today applauded U.S. Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) for resuming the legislative drive to shine a light on the secret activities of Wall Street consultants and lobbyists who lurk on Capitol Hill seeking valuable nonpublic information they later use for advantages in the stock market. The groups urged Congress to join in the effort to open the books on the “political intelligence industry.”
The organizations and a scholar supporting this transparency legislation include: Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause, Every Voice, James A. Thurber, New Progressive Alliance, Public Citizen and WV Citizen Action Group.
The political intelligence industry operates largely in secret. It is estimated that 2,000 political intelligence consultants roam the halls of Congress soaking up information for paying clients for of anywhere between $100 million to $400 million in annual profits. But no one knows for sure, since political intelligence activities are not disclosed either to the public or to Congress. Some of this activity could potentially involve insider trading.
The “Political Intelligence Transparency Act” does not prohibit such activity as long as it is done legally and aboveboard. The legislation would require political intelligence consultants to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act and disclose their clients, income and activities. This bill is a straightforward transparency measure that would enable the public to monitor whether any illegal insider trading is taking place, the groups maintain.
“This is commonsense transparency legislation,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “We strongly urge Congress to support the bipartisan ‘Political Intelligence Transparency Act’ with the same enthusiasm Congress embraced the STOCK Act.”