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Public Statements

Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the chairman, the gentleman from Texas.

Madam Speaker, our government was founded on a promise. This promise was built on a trust between the people and their elected officials. We all have a duty to honor the trust of the American people and to work faithfully on their behalf.

Madam Speaker, it is unacceptable for anyone, any elected official or their staff, to profit from information that is not available to the public. People in this country have a right to know and trust that officials at all levels of government are living under the same rules that they are. If there is even the slightest appearance of impropriety, we ought to go ahead and prevent that from taking place.

It is incumbent upon each of us to start restoring the trust between the people and their elected representatives. That's what the STOCK Act is all about.

Madam Speaker, Members from both sides of the aisle have worked hard on this issue. I would especially like to express my appreciation to Representatives Tim Walz and Louise Slaughter for their years of work on this effort. Congressman Walz has been a leader on the STOCK Act since he took office at the start of the 110th Congress, and I particularly want to recognize his willingness to reach across the aisle and keep the lines of communication open as we worked to make clear that elected officials abide by the same rules as the American people.

This bill we are bringing to the floor today puts in place measures that both strengthen and expand the Senate's work on the STOCK Act, as well as removes provisions that would have made the bill unworkable or raised far more questions than they would have answered. We expanded the bill to ensure that executive branch officials and their employees are subject to the same reporting and disclosure requirements as those in Congress. We must all live under the same rules.

We also included a provision, championed by Representative Robert Dold, to ensure that Members of Congress who are convicted of a crime do not receive a taxpayer-funded pension after the fact. And finally, Madam Speaker, we added a provision to prohibit Members of Congress, executive branch officials, and their staffs from receiving special access to initial public offerings due to their positions.

Madam Speaker, we intend to act quickly to send the President a strengthened, workable bill that delivers on our promise to uphold the trust of the American people. And I urge all my colleagues to support the STOCK Act.

Mr. CONYERS. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

May I ask the distinguished majority leader one question, why he took political intelligence out of this provision?

I yield to the gentleman from Virginia.

Mr. CANTOR. Sure. I would respond to the gentleman, I think that is a provision that raises an awful lot of questions. I think there is a lot of discussion and debate about who and what would qualify and fall under the suggested language that came from the Senate. And that is why, in the STOCK Act, we are calling for a study of that issue, to ensure that the integrity of this process is maintained.

But I would remind the gentleman, the thrust of this bill is about making sure that none of us, in elected office or those in the executive branch, are able to profit from nonpublic information. The political intelligence piece is outside of this body, and we are talking about us and the perception that has gathered around our conduct.

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