Shockingly, Dems Passed Congressional Insider Trading Bill As A Political Weapon

I’ll give Harry Reid some credit for bringing the legislation to the Senate floor and getting it passed, at least till we get an in-depth look at the legislation and see if it actually does what it says, but

(The Hill) The White House and Democrats have seized on legislation barring lawmakers from making insider stock trades as a political weapon to use against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his GOP colleagues.

The Senate voted 93-2 on Monday evening to advance the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which prohibits lawmakers from using non-public information for financial advantage.

The overwhelming vote came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) charged behind-the-scenes GOP opposition was holding up the debate. A senior GOP aide denied the allegation.

This raises the issue that it was done for purely partisan political purposes, not for any notion that it is wrong and distasteful for elected officials and government workers to engage in stock trades based on non-public information.

Because the House has yet to schedule a vote on a similar bill, Democrats in the Senate hope their quick action will suggest Republicans are resistant to the popular bill, which gained national attention after a November report on “60 Minutes.”

The Dems are crowing that the STOCK act was removed from markup last fall, but, um, wait a second

The STOCK Act was originally introduced in the 109th session of the House of Representatives on Mar. 28, 2006 by Brian Baird (D-WA) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) where it died in committee. It was reintroduced in the 110th (May 16, 2007) and 111th (Jan. 26, 2009) House sessions where it also died in committee.

On Mar. 17, 2011, Tim Walz (D-MN) introduced the STOCK Act into the 112th House session where it gained one co-sponsor and was referred to various committees. Eight more co-sponsors joined by Nov. 4, 2011.

So, it died multiple times while Democrats controlled the House? And couldn’t get more than a few co-sponsors in 2011? And Dingy Harry never bothered with it previously, despite the legislation being out there? And that this looks more like a political stunt? Though, this stunt does have real teeth. S.2038 does say, in Sec. 605

A Member of Congress or an employee of Congress who violates the prohibition under section 602 shall be subject to appropriate punitive, disciplinary, and other remedial action in accordance with any applicable laws, resolutions, rules, or regulations.

At least until the Senate quietly passes legislation that invalidates that section, or the whole bill. Of course, in order for most criminal penalties to be assessed, a member of Congress has to be kicked out, and we’ve seen how well that has worked with tax cheats like Charlie Rangle.

That said, the GOP needs to get off their butts in the House and pass this. They also need to proactively pass legislation extending the payroll tax break for at least one year. Perhaps pushing a 2 year extension, put Democrats on the defensive.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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