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Public Statements

Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012--Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the STOCK Act. I wish to start by thanking the leaders on the floor, Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins, for their hard work and leadership in bringing this bill to the floor. There should not be any question that Members of Congress should be held accountable to the same laws to which every other American is held.

That is why in November Senator Gillibrand, Senator Tester, and I introduced the STOCK Act to prohibit Members of Congress from engaging in insider trading. This bill is common sense. The American people deserve to know that their representatives in Congress are doing what is right for the country and not trying to strike it rich by trading on insider information.

My constituents are certainly wondering why this isn't law already, and that is a good question. It certainly is a question I asked myself last year when there were news reports raising this issue, and I was very pleased to join immediately with my colleagues to put forward this legislation to make it absolutely clear that insider trading by Members of Congress is in violation of the law.

I wish to thank, as I indicated before, the Senator from Connecticut and the Senator from Maine for moving this bill through their committee and bringing it to the Senate floor. I appreciate very much the vote of 93 Senators who voted last night to move the bill forward. I think it is a very important example of bipartisan support. I hope we will be able to move this forward to a simple up-or-down vote this week and that we will not see extraneous issues or obstruction or delay involving this bill. This is very simple and very straightforward. I am hopeful we will be able to move it forward and accomplish this goal.

We need to make sure it is very clear that the same laws to which everyone else adheres are held to be true for Members of Congress. It is also important to note that our bill creates new reporting requirements for Members of Congress and their staffs, with the reports available online, with a searchable database. That is very important for transparency. It asks the Government Accounting Office to investigate the so-called ``political intelligence consultants'' who contact Members and staff to get information on how legislation could affect their business clients or stock prices.

This bill is very simple and very clearcut. We are all engaged in conversations on a daily basis that make information available to us, and we need to make it very clear as to our responsibilities for handling that information and operating in the public interest.

So I am hopeful we will be able to keep this bill focused on the intended goal so we can actually get it passed, get it over to the House, and have the House do the same. It is important that while there may be a number of different issues we all care about that we would like to offer through amendments, we will be able to keep this focused on the issue in front of us and that we will be able to get this done as quickly as possible.

Our constituents are certainly looking to us to be able to do this. It would be an excellent way to start the new year by working together on a bipartisan basis to close a loophole that has created confusion about the responsibilities, the ethics, and the legal responsibilities for Senators as it relates to insider information and potential insider trading.

So I am hopeful we can get this done. I appreciate the work of everyone who has been involved in helping to get us to this point. Hopefully, by the end of the week we will have something passed that we can all feel very good about.

Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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