Hearing planned on congressional stock trading bill


A proposal to ban insider stock trading by members of Congress and their staff will get a congressional hearing Dec. 6 before the House Financial Services Committee.
New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, first proposed the bill in 2006 with former Rep. Brian Baird of Washington and, until this week, never had more than 14 House sponsors.
That’s all changed since a CBS TV News segment on 60 Minutes Sunday night drew attention to the ability of lawmakers and their employers to trade on the inside information they obtain about pending legislation and regulations that can move the stock market.
Since Monday, the number of sponsors of Slaughter’s bill has grown to 61.
Slaughter said Thursday that getting a full committee hearing on her bill “shows the power of the press.”
“I’m particularly pleased because my colleagues are really starting to understand that light needs to be shed on insider trading and political intelligence which has been creeping into the halls of Congress for years now,” Slaughter said.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said Thursday he is calling the hearing even though he personally thinks members of Congress already are prohibited from insider trading.
“The American public deserves for there to be no question or equivocation concerning members of Congress or any citizen being exempted from laws prohibiting insider trading,” he said.
Bachus was one of the lawmakers highlighted in the 60 Minutes report, which drew on reporting from a new book by Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution.
Bachus released a letter Wednesday rebutting the accusation that he purchased General Electric stock expecting it to go down in price, pointing out that his purchase options were made with the expectation it would increase in value.
Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who preceded Bachus as the committee’s chairman, released a letter Wednesday saying he “did not pay sufficient attention” to the issue when he chaired the panel.
“I did not see this as a problem that was of any great substance,” Frank wrote. “I am still not sure that this is widespread, but given the attention that we have seen on this matter now, and given the importance of those whom we represent being fully assured that we have acted appropriately, I think we should now take up this legislation.”
While Frank chaired the full committee, Slaughter’s bill only had one hearing at the subcommittee level in July 2009.
New York lawmakers who have joined recently to support the bill include Democratic Reps. Maurice Hinchey of Ulster County, Brian Higgins of Buffalo, Kathy Hochul of the Buffalo area, Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, Tim Bishop of Southampton and Bill Owens of Plattsburgh.
In the Senate, Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts introduced a version of the bill Tuesday. Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Jon Tester plan to introduce another version as early as next week.

11/18/11 UPDATE: There are now eight sponsors of the second Senate bill. Besides, Gillibrand, Tester and Stabenow, original sponsors include Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and Democrats Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Richard Blumenthalof Connecticut.


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  1. Well! …at least one aspect of belated ‘Honesty’ at work! ( by the let’s also amend that those suspected of moving their or their immidate kiins Portfolios; must be looked and evaluated with microscope or a telescope! .If any Member of The US Senate may have actually engaged’ in such acts under Oath of Public Trust…then the question arises before the Law is What else may have transpired on matters of The Republic’s National Interests?

    This is a very serious issue. More, as these (misunderstoodly privileged individuals) were ‘fast and furious’ for Barking so loud for The US Attorney General’s Resignation just a few weeks ago!… Now, (if any- who may have abused the privileged trading info) should resign or not?

    HABIB HASAN – An American Storyteller.