Blog — Insider Trading
It’s curious how on the very same day the STOCK Act reached 218 cosponsors – that’s a majority in the House – Politico is reporting that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) “ripped into” Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) for having the temerity of wanting to hold a markup of the legislation.
“Cantor delivered the cease-and-desist order on behalf of GOP leaders … who were concerned that Bachus could help give the bill life by having the committee approve it … it put[s] members of the committee in a tough spot: Even if they think the bill’s a bad idea, it’s hard to go home and explain why they voted against,” reports Politico.
Oh the humanity. As many of you may know, the STOCK Act is gaining a great deal of momentum following a “60 Minutes” program on the issue and a release of a new book by Peter Schweizer that documents congressional insider trading in detail. Hearings have been held in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and members are flooding the bills with bipartisan support.
This should be a no-brainer for Congress. At a time of record low approval ratings, Congress must pass legislation that provides some kind of accountability to the American people should future malfeasance occur. While there is a real academic debate as to whether Members of Congress could be held liable for insider trading as the law stands today, it misses the point. To date there has been zero enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as to congressional insider trading and there is little reason to believe the SEC would act without congressional direction. And while we may discover on down the line that congressional insider trading isn’t a rampant problem, in the meantime Congress should put to rest any doubts.
Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have pledged to markup the STOCK Act in the Senate next week and the House should follow suit. Otherwise, what else can we muse but that Rep. Cantor and the GOP leadership must have something to hide?
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