Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today voted for, and the House passed (417-2), a long-sought measure that would ban insider trading by Members of Congress. The STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge -- S. 2038) is bipartisan legislation that would prohibit Members of Congress and employees of Congress from profiting from non-public information they obtain via their official positions.
"As we work to end corrupt practices and establish transparency on Wall Street, we must apply the same rules to all who have access to insider information, including Members of Congress," said Congresswoman Baldwin. "This is a loophole we must close if we are to restore the American people's faith in Congress and the work of democracy," Baldwin said.
After delaying the vote on a bill that had wide, bi-partisan support and should have been non-controversial, House Republican leaders did bring it to the floor, but not before weakening its authority. They dropped a provision to require firms specializing in "political intelligence" that use information obtained from Congress to make financial transactions to register with the House and Senate, just as lobbyists are now required to do. Baldwin objected to its removal saying, "If your job is to influence policy and sway Members of Congress, you are a lobbyist whether you call yourself one, or not; and this bill should apply to you."
They also dropped an anti-corruption provision that would more clearly define, identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal conduct by public officials.
Baldwin objected to the watering-down of the bill. "At a time when people's confidence in Congress is at an all-time low, it is shameful that the Republican leadership is so blatantly kowtowing to powerful special interests," said Baldwin. "We should be strengthening anti-corruption measures, not weakening them. I hope these important protections are restored before the bill reaches the President's desk," she said.