U.S. House: On Insider Trading, Reformers Urge House Leadership Not to Ignore Majority of House Members
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, and a coalition of reform groups, called on the Speaker of the House and the House Majority Leader to heed calls from a majority of the colleagues to pass legislation to curb congressional insider trading.
The letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), called for a rescheduling of the markup of the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” (STOCK Act) which was reportedly cancelled by Cantor despite a majority of the House (225 Members), including 76 Republicans, cosponsoring the legislation.
The STOCK Act, which had been introduced in previous session, had garnered few sponsors until a damning report on the CBS News magazine “60 Minutes”. After the story aired, Members responded to the public outcry and rushed to co-sponsor the legislation.
“Speaker Boehner should seriously consider what a markup postponement would mean. A ‘slow walking’ of this legislation would be seen as nothing more than an attempt to calm public outrage through delay so that Congress could once again avoid policing its own,” said Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center Policy Director. “Delaying the markup of the legislation beyond next week would likely push the House vote on the legislation into 2012 and it would be hard to come up with a charitable interpretation of such an act.”
The organizations signing the letter include the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Common Cause, Democracy 21, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG.
Companion bills have been introduced in the Senate and a hearing was held last week.
The full text of the letter follows below.
December 9, 2011
The Hon. John Boehner
The Hon. Eric Cantor
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Republican Leadership Should No Longer Delay Full Consideration
of Legislation to Ban Congressional Insider Trading (H.R. 1148)
Dear Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor:
Our organizations -- Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG – urge the Republican congressional leadership to end its delay of House consideration of the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” (STOCK) Act.
A majority of House members (225), including 76 Republican Representatives, are co-sponsoring the STOCK Act (H.R. 1148) introduced by Reps. Timothy Walz (D-Minn.) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY). This is real bipartisan legislation.
The STOCK Act received a constructive and informative hearing before the House Financial Services Committee and was scheduled for further consideration and amendments on December 14. However, the Republican leadership stepped in and directed Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) not to move forward with this important legislation.
This legislation should be marked up by the House Financial Services Committee and voted on by the full House before Congress adjourns this year. Clearly, a majority of Congress recognize that a serious problem exists regarding the potential for insider trading by members and staff and want to move forward with fair and balanced legislation to address the problem. Only the Republican congressional leadership is now standing in the way.
We see no legitimate basis for the cancelation, reportedly by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, of the Committee markup of this bill that had been scheduled for next week. Prohibiting congressional insider trading is not a partisan issue and should not be derailed by party politics. It’s an issue that involves ensuring that members of Congress do not abuse their public office for improper personal gain.
We urge you to join with a majority of your colleagues and let this legislation move forward.
Campaign Legal Center
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington