Senator Jon Tester today pushed a bill banning members of Congress and their employees from using knowledge gained from their Congressional work for personal financial benefit.
Tester, speaking on the floor of the Senate, urged his colleagues to support the bipartisan Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. The bill specifically prohibits members of Congress and their employees from conducting stock market trading based on inside information.
Tester, who cosponsored an earlier version the STOCK Act with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said lawmakers should be playing by the same rules as everyone else.
"The STOCK Act brings much-needed accountability to Congress and should be an easy lift," Tester said. "I don't care if you work on Wall Street or in Congress -- you should not be using privileged information to enrich yourself."
The bill provides additional clarity necessary to ensure that U.S. Representatives, Senators and their employees are prohibited from trading stocks based on privileged information such as the status of legislation, hearings, and pending regulations.
Tester, a leading voice for transparency and accountability, also specifically added a bipartisan provision to the bill that requires financial disclosures to be made publicly available on a searchable, electronic database.
"Full transparency means the public has the right and ability to see our records," Tester said on the Senate floor. "In a time of hyper-partisanship, this is an opportunity for both sides to work together on a bill we sorely need."
The STOCK Act will:
* Affirm that members of Congress and congressional staff are not exempt from insider trading prohibitions and make it clear that they are subject to the same insider trading rules as others,
* Reaffirm the duty of trust and confidence that members of Congress have toward the public,
* Ensure prompt disclosure of Congressional trades and mandate public, online access to financial disclosure forms
Tester introduced the STOCK Act in November after media reports raised the possibility of members of Congress using knowledge gained from their work to make business transactions.
The STOCK Act is online HERE. The Senate is expected to debate the bill this week.
Tester's floor remarks are available below.