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View Full Version : General Politics Congress May Get One Thing Right This Year


Amnorix
02-03-2012, 07:14 AM
They may finally make insider trading laws apply to themselves and many members of the executive branch.

WASHINGTON With members of Congress convinced their political survival depends on their image, the House is wasting no time in considering a Senate-passed bill that would ban insider trading by lawmakers and thousands of executive branch officials. Stock trades would have to be posted online within 30 days.

The Senate showed a rare display of bipartisanship Thursday to pass the bill 96-3, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said it would be before the House next week. President Barack Obama repeated a pledge to sign it immediately.

"With approval ratings of Congress at an all-time low, this bill represents an opportunity to build some trust with the American people," said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., a chief sponsor of the bill. "The truth is, members of Congress have access to all kinds of sensitive information, and it has to be clear that the information is being used to serve our country, not to make a personal profit."

Congress' approval ratings have been in the teens lately.

Cantor said, "Insider trading at any level of the federal government is unacceptable. We will quickly review the entire bill and the amendments that were added ... to ensure that public servants, whether in the legislative or executive branch, do not personally profit from insider information.

"It is critical that the bill we send to the president guarantees that the same rules apply to those in the federal government as they do to everyone else."

Obama praised the Senate.

"No one should be able to trade stocks based on nonpublic information gleaned on Capitol Hill," the president said. "So I'm pleased the Senate took bipartisan action to pass the STOCK Act. I urge the House of Representatives to pass this bill, and I will sign it right away."

Obama said still more ethics restrictions were needed, "like prohibiting elected officials from owning stocks in industries they impact."

Several amendments were added to the bill before final passage.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., won an amendment to include the 28,000 government workers in the executive branch in the bill, saying it would create a level playing field with the requirements for Congress. But the same amendment included conflicting language by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., that would apply to only 2,000 top policymakers including the president, vice president and members of the Federal Reserve Board. Lieberman disputed Shelby's numbers, saying 300,000 executive branch workers could be affected.

A House-Senate conference will have to reconcile the two versions.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, successfully added language that would require "political intelligence" operatives to register and disclose affiliations, the same as lobbyists. These individuals are hired by stock traders to obtain useful information from members of Congress and their staffs.

Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate's ethics committee, and senior committee Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia won an amendment that would force disclosure of all residential mortgages by members of Congress, the president, the vice president and most Senate-confirmed appointees. Currently senators are not required to list all mortgages.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said laws prohibiting trading on inside, non-public information clearly cover members of Congress. In 2005, the SEC investigated then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee concerning his divestiture of stock in the family's hospital company days before its price fell on an analyst's forecast. Frist was not charged with wrongdoing.

To a large extent, Congress is reacting to a segment on CBS' "60 Minutes" that raised questions about stock trades by House Speaker John Boehner, the husband of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., chairman of the Financial Services Committee. All have denied wrongdoing and denounced the network's story.

Republicans insisted on including top government officials outside the Congress in the bill even though they also are covered by insider trading regulations and face tougher conflict-of-interest restrictions than members of Congress. In some cases, executive branch officials are required to divest themselves of stock holdings that pose a conflict. Lawmakers don't have to do that and the Senate bill would not require it.

In addition to the 30-day online reporting requirement, the Senate would have to join the House in posting members' annual financial disclosure statements online instead of making only paper copies available on request.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., proposed wiping out the entire bill and substituting a simple certification by senators each year that they did not participate in insider trading. It was defeated, with 37 senators voting "yes" and 61 opposed.

http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-politics/20120203/US.Congress.Insider.Trading/

Amnorix
02-03-2012, 07:15 AM
WTF is up with Rand Paul on this? Just a general protest against any more regulations of any type, even if clearly logical and desirable?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., proposed wiping out the entire bill and substituting a simple certification by senators each year that they did not participate in insider trading. It was defeated, with 37 senators voting "yes" and 61 opposed.

dirk digler
02-03-2012, 07:20 AM
We will see. I have read Cantor is trying to fuck with this bill so it won't pass.

patteeu
02-03-2012, 07:32 AM
Does this bill mean that Congressmen are now considered insiders for any business that is subject to the laws they pass or does it just mean that they're subject to the same inside trading laws as the rest of us?

Dave Lane
02-03-2012, 07:36 AM
They are not supposed to have direct investments, They are supposed to have a blind trust for investments. The word supposed is key here.

Cave Johnson
02-03-2012, 09:01 AM
WTF is up with Rand Paul on this? Just a general protest against any more regulations of any type, even if clearly logical and desirable?

Was he going to ask for a pinky swear as well?

We will see. I have read Cantor is trying to **** with this bill so it won't pass.

From the article, it looks like they're all trying to make the bill as unappealing to as many Congresscritters as possible. Note to Congress, no one (to my knowledge) is accusing the executive branch of insider trading. Fix yo sh#t.

Cave Johnson
02-03-2012, 09:11 AM
They are not supposed to have direct investments, They are supposed to have a blind trust for investments. The word supposed is key here.

Currently, they're apparently not required to do so. Jon Kyl continues his campaign as my least favorite senator.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/208177-stock-act-now-making-senators-squirm

Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Democrats elected in 2006 and 2008, respectively, have also offered a measure that has raised eyebrows. It would require all lawmakers and senior staff to divest of stocks or put their assets in blind trusts.

Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the second-ranking Senate Republican leader, called that proposal “foolish.”

“Why should someone who has worked and accumulated some equity and is investing that in American businesses no longer be able to do that when they’re elected to public office?” he said.

Because you voluntarily chose to become a public servant, dickbag. Because members of Congress apparently can't resist shorting news of impending financial disasters.

Die in an aids fire.

patteeu
02-03-2012, 09:12 AM
From the article, it looks like they're all trying to make the bill as unappealing to as many Congresscritters as possible. Note to Congress, no one (to my knowledge) is accusing the executive branch of insider trading. Fix yo sh#t.

Are you serious? You think Congressmen use their advantaged (although not insider) knowledge to make money but you don't think members of the executive branch do the same kinds of things?

Amnorix
02-03-2012, 09:19 AM
Are you serious? You think Congressmen use their advantaged (although not insider) knowledge to make money but you don't think members of the executive branch do the same kinds of things?


Sounds like executive branch members have more safeguards in place, currently, and would after the measure passes, if it passes...


Republicans insisted on including top government officials outside the Congress in the bill even though they also are covered by insider trading regulations and face tougher conflict-of-interest restrictions than members of Congress. In some cases, executive branch officials are required to divest themselves of stock holdings that pose a conflict. Lawmakers don't have to do that and the Senate bill would not require it.

mikey23545
02-03-2012, 09:19 AM
Are you serious? You think Congressmen use their advantaged (although not insider) knowledge to make money but you don't think members of the executive branch do the same kinds of things?

Of course not.


http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/5739/obamahalo.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/571/obamahalo.jpg/)