Good news! Insider trading by government officials has just gotten a whole lot easier and less threatening. I’m relieved as I hope you are. The Elite must have their privileges!
After a CBS’ 60 Minutes episode brought insider trading by Congress to the public’s attention, people were rightfully outraged.
Congress and federal officials have ready access to inside information, and in the case of lawmakers, they have the power to alter law and then buy stock based on the law they altered. They can also use insider trading to make deals that buy them votes.
The STOCK Act or the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” was passed in Congress to stop the practice. The bill banned lawmakers, aides and federal employees making more than $120,000 from buying or selling stocks and other securities based on confidential information.
Prior to this law, it was legal for them to trade on insider knowledge.
The rest of us would go to jail. Martha Stewart and her broker were two such people. If they were members of Congress, it would have been legal.
The meat of the law, not very well done, required federal employees – not Congress and their aides – to have their financial disclosures put online. The bill required those effected to report stock and bond transactions within 30 days of the transaction.
To quell bad PR, the Act was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. It never dealt with the real problem, which is Congress, their aides making deals with K street (Big Labor) – exchanging votes for tips.
A report by the National Academy of Public Administration, a report that the administration requested, came up with the conclusion that it was unsafe for federal employees to put their financial information online.
That was the only enforcement rule in the measure. I say “was” because the Senate repealed the enforcement clause of the measure in 14 seconds after the House spent 10 seconds on it, and the President signed the repeal just as quickly.
We are back to no disclosure. It is impossible to get this information. In any case, it didn’t involve disclosure by anyone in Congress and they are the real problem.
President Obama originally said, when the bill was passed, “the powerful shouldn’t get to create one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everybody else.”
Don’t be surprised to see Congress repeal the entire bill very quietly down the road. They almost don’t have to because “the only people who will know who is violating the law are the ones violating the law.” Read more at NYU Local
It’s ironic that only last week, Boehner and Reid tried to exempt their aides from Obamacare. Congress already is exempt though they are now pretending they are not. They are no longer discussing the exemption of aides because of the bad PR they received thanks to a Politico article that outed them.
Congress is denying the negotiations took place.
We need bipartisan outrage here.
Check out Jon Stewart’s take on the issue at Mediaite.