On March 17,2011 Tim Walz (D-MN), US Representative, introduced HR 1148, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act with four co-sponsors including Louise Slaughter (D-NY) Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), David Loebsack (D-IA), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (H.R. 1148) would make it illegal for anyone to buy or sell stocks, securities, or commodities based on nonpublic information about legislation obtained from a Member or employee of Congress.
This bill would also make it illegal for a Member or employee of Congress to share nonpublic information if they know that it will be used to conduct trades. It would impose additional financial disclosure requirements for Members of Congress and set up additional rules to govern conflicts of interest. This bill has been referred to the House Committees on Financial Services, Agriculture,Administration, Judiciary, Ethics and Rules.
Many people are aware that it’s illegal for business executives to engage in “insider trading,” the practice of buying and selling stocks based upon information not available to the general public. However, those laws do not apply to members of Congress or to their staffs. With the concerns of millions of Americans,about Wall Street, lobbyists and corruption Congress has a responsiblity to make significant changes by passing the HR1148 Stock Act bill.
"Steve Kroft on 60 minutes pointed out the following: Martha Stewart went to jail for it. Hedge fund honcho Raj Rajaratnam was fined $92 million and will go to jail for years for it. But members of Congress can do the same thing -use non-public information to make stock trades -- and there's no law against it. Steve Kroft reports on how America's lawmakers can legally make tidy profits on information only they know, simply because they won't pass a law against themselves. The report was broadcasted on Sunday, Nov. 13."
House rules don't require them to divest themselves of common stocks when they assume office or prevent them from trading freely while in office. They are not required to recuse themselves from votes that could affect their own interests.
The bill must be moved out of Committee. It is time to PASS THIS BILL!!!
Pass HR 1148
Any member of Congress including the Supreme Court should be bound by the same laws as its citizens. After the market collapse and the shady dealings of Wall Street it is imperative to have complete transparency and accountablity.
There is uncertainty about how insider trading rules impacts members of Congress and their staff. Unless lawmakers have some express confidentiality agreement they can exploit the information they obtain on Capitol Hill. Currently there may not be any specfific examples of lawmakers engaging in insider trading and secret spending but there is no duty of confidentiality for Congress, their staff or executive branch employees
. Members of Congress have bought stock in companies while laws that could affect those companies were being debated in the House or Senate. Congress' approval rating dropped to its lowest level ever 9%. This is one step to restore confidence in our government. We are asking that every member of Congress vote in favor of passing HR 1148 Stock Act" bill.