U.S. Senator Scott Brown's (R-MA) bill to ban insider trading in Congress, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, was signed into law by President Obama at a White House ceremony today. Regarded as an author and lead champion of the final bill, Senator Brown was the first in the Senate to introduce the STOCK Act, requested and testified at a Senate committee hearing on his legislation, and memorably asked the president to encourage Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow a vote on the bill during a candid moment after this year's State of the Union address.
"With so many challenges facing our country, we need our public servants focused on doing their jobs and putting America first every day," said Senator Brown. "This law makes clear that using public office for insider trading is wrong, and that Washington has to live under the same rules as the rest of America. I thank President Obama for signing this bill into law and staying true to our bipartisan effort by asking me to stand with him today."
The STOCK Act is a major ethics reform package designed to ban insider trading for members and employees of Congress, and executive branch employees. It clarifies insider trading law, increases transparency by requiring more frequent financial filings that will be available online and prevents government officials from receiving preferential treatment in any initial public offerings that are not available to the general public.
November 15, 2011: Senator Brown introduced the STOCK Act, the first to do so in the Senate.
November 16, 2011: Senator Brown requested a Hearing to examine the extent of the insider trading problem and possible solutions. Within hours, Senators Lieberman and Collins announced a hearing. As their press release said, "The hearing, requested by Committee Member Scott Brown, R-Mass., and sparked by a 60 Minutes report, is intended to clarify the laws and rules that govern members of Congress who may profit personally from non-public information they learn in the course of their work."
December 1, 2011: Senator Brown testified about the need for the STOCK Act and, as a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, questioned witnesses about solutions to the problem. Click here for Senator Brown's op-ed on the STOCK Act published in the Boston Herald on the day of the hearing.
December 14, 2011: The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs passed the Chairman's mark of the STOCK Act in a bipartisan vote.
January 24, 2012: President Obama used his State of the Union address to call on Congress to ban insider trading. After the speech, Senator Brown personally asked President Obama to help move the STOCK Act through the Senate. The moment was captured on live TV and President Obama agreed to "get it done."
January 25, 2012: Senator Brown followed up on his exchange with the president and sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid urging a vote on STOCK Act.
January 26, 2012: Senate leadership announced a vote on the STOCK Act.
February 2, 2012: The Senate passed the STOCK Act by a vote of 96-3.
February 9, 2012: The House passed an amended version of the STOCK Act by a vote of 417-2.
March 22, 2012: The Senate agreed to the House-amended version by a vote of 96-3 and the STOCK Act was sent to President Obama to be signed into law.
April 4, 2012: President Obama signed the STOCK Act into law.