Senator Jon Tester's bipartisan bill to prohibit insider trading on Capitol Hill passed the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee today.
The committee overwhelmingly approved Tester's Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. The STOCK Act prevents members of Congress and their employees from using knowledge gained from Congressional work for personal financial benefit
Before today's vote, Tester added a bipartisan provision that requires financial disclosures to be made publicly available on an electronic database. Currently, members of Congress and some staff members are required to submit annual financial reports, but the STOCK Act would also require members of Congress to report the purchase or sale of large amounts of stock within 30 days.
Tester offered his amendment, which was supported by Sen. Scott Brown (R.-Mass.), after hearing public testimony from ethics and insider trading experts.
"Today the Senate took another key step toward improving accountability to ensure that public servants don't abuse their public trust to make money," Tester said. "This bipartisan bill brings more transparency to Congress, and today we made it even stronger by requiring more online disclosure. I hope the House changes course and follows our lead on this issue right away."
The House of Representatives recently halted its consideration of the STOCK Act without even holding a vote in committee.
Tester's bipartisan amendment requires financial disclosure forms to be posted in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable database. It applies to members of Congress, candidates for Congress and staff.
Tester introduced the STOCK Act after media reports raised questions about the possibility of members of Congress using knowledge gained from their work to make business transactions.
Federal law currently does not prohibit U.S. Representatives, Senators and their staffers from trading stocks based on privileged information such as the status of legislation and pending government regulations.
Tester is a leading voice for transparency and accountability in government. He is the first U.S. Senator to post his public schedule online and to conduct regular ethics audits of his office.