Number 2 House Leader Scraps Bill on Insider Trading by Members of Congress

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You didn't think I was talking about Pelosi did you?

:trollol:

STOCK Act Scuttled

8:43 PM, Dec 9, 2011 | 2 comments
Written by
Dave McKinley

BUFFALO, NY - The Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act, would prohibit Members of Congress and their aids from profiting from inside information they might obtain through their official duties.

Originally authored by New York 28th District Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), it languished on Capitol Hill for six years, never gaining more than 14 co-sponsors.

That was until the issue gained notoriety through a recent 60 Minutes report on congressional insider trading.

Suddenly Slaughter's bill got 219 co sponsors-- a majority of the house--and a number almost unheard of.

But the House Financial Services Committee, which appeared to be set to fast track the bill, abruptly canceled plans to vote on it.

"We were taken completely by surprise...stunned is more like it," Slaughter told WGRZ-TV.

The bill was pulled at the behest of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The No. 2 House Republican on Thursday defended his request to indefinitely delay a committee vote on the legislation, saying the issue needs to be approached "in a deliberate manner."

"This is an issue of extreme import for the confidence of the public toward this institution," Cantor said on the House floor.

A Cantor spokesman also told politico.com that a large group of bipartisan members of the committee felt the legislation was flawed and being recklessly moved solely in response to media pressure.

"Oh, .. for goodness sakes!" replied Slaughter. "Last week we passed a bill worth hundreds of billions of dollars with a less than a two day layover and no one knew what was in it. This bill has been around for 6 years!"

"If it gets to the Senate floor I would guess it would pass and pass overwhelmingly," said US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), who told 2 On Your Side he supports the STOCK Act.

"People lose trust in the system if they feel their Congressmen or Senators have a greater advantage than they do in making money in any way, so it's unfair and it's wrong and I hope that they will put it on track," Schumer said.

Slaughter has written Cantor, protesting his role in preventing the vote, and hopes public pressure will force him to get the bill back on track. Equally upset is Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz who co-authored Slaughter's bill, and who said, "If this thing doesn't happen, then hepatitis will be more popular than the U.S. Congress."

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 on Your Side reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bob Mancuso.
http://www.wgrz.com/news/article/145317/37/STOCK-Act-Scuttled
 

Norm Stansfield

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Just to sum it up: Cantor is either obstructing the passing of the bill, or making sure it's not a shitty bill, depending on who you ask. But the guy who wrote this is inclined to believe ithe Dem version of the story, for some reason that goes unmentioned.

Great piece of journalism you posted, partycock. As always. Doesn't mention a single detail on what's in the bill, nor does it give any factual information at all. All it says is that it has a lot of co-sponsors, and 60 minutes endorsed it too. So it must be great, no need to tire our brains with what's in it.

And please don't say that the first paragraph explains what it is. It doesn't.
 

Party Rooster

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Great piece of journalism you posted, partycock. As always. Doesn't mention a single detail on what's in the bill, nor does it give any factual information at all. All it says is that it has a lot of co-sponsors, and 60 minutes endorsed it too. So it must be great, no need to tire our brains with what's in it.

And please don't say that the first paragraph explains what it is. It doesn't.
I don't take responsibility for how it's written dumbass. But if you had bothered to click on the link I did provide, you'd see that the original article gives you a link to Congresswoman Slaughter's congressional website. On her homepage you could have gotten a bit more info if you had just clicked on the top link there.

The STOCK Act is a comprehensive approach to prohibit congressional material nonpublic information from being used to benefit Members, staff and the political intelligence industry. The legislation prohibits congressional insider trading through Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) and House Ethics rules, and provides enforcement tools through timely financial disclosures and the registration of political intelligence firms.
It's H.R. 1148, the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act in case your Google is broken.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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It's about time to knock it off with the acronym based bill names. They've run out of words to string together.
 

Norm Stansfield

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I don't take responsibility for how it's written dumbass.
There are thousands of informative articles on the web. You could've picked any one of them to post, but you picked this monkey cum. Who the fuck is responsible for that if not you?

The STOCK Act is a comprehensive approach to prohibit congressional material nonpublic information from being used to benefit Members, staff and the political intelligence industry. The legislation prohibits congressional insider trading through Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) and House Ethics rules, and provides enforcement tools through timely financial disclosures and the registration of political intelligence firms.
Right. Now you're finally doing what you should've done: post facts, not propaganda.

Sounds like this could fuck up the structure of the entire federal government. Congress is the branch of gov. tasked with over-seeing executive agencies, not the other way around. You cannot hand executive agencies the power to investigate the affairs of members of Congress, at will. That is insanity. It would give bureaucrats unlimited power over elected officials, destroying the democratic process that is the basis of our government.

Rewrite the fucking thing, make sure the rules are enforced by Congress, and any SEC investigation is subject to approval by the relevant congressional committees. If I was Cantor, I would want more time to study this too.
 

Falldog

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There are thousands of informative articles on the web. You could've picked any one of them to post, but you picked this monkey cum. Who the fuck is responsible for that if not you?
It was yours. And your failure to prevent the thing you loath the most should weight heavy on your conscious.
 

Party Rooster

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Rewrite the fucking thing, make sure the rules are enforced by Congress, and any SEC investigation is subject to approval by the relevant congressional committees. If I was Cantor, I would want more time to study this too.
That's the whole point of the committee....of which Cantor booted it out of. My guess is Cantor, Boehner, Pelosi, and other top dogs just wants to sweep this under the rug until after the holidays when the media and the public has forgotten about it.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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what about the C.U.N.T bill?
Every bill is a CUNT bill.

That's the whole point of the committee....of which Cantor booted it out of. My guess is Cantor, Boehner, Pelosi, and other top dogs just wants to sweep this under the rug until after the holidays when the media and the public has forgotten about it.
Considering about 90% of Congress is involved in this somehow, I'm surprised it's even being reported at all.
 

Josh_R

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At first I figured it was cancelled because it was a poorly written, thrown-together bill that could have huge implications and unintended consequences, but then I read this:

"Oh, .. for goodness sakes!" replied Slaughter. "Last week we passed a bill worth hundreds of billions of dollars with a less than a two day layover and no one knew what was in it. This bill has been around for 6 years!"
She is absolutely right. They passed the 2,000+ page Obamacare something like 12 hours after the final version was written. If they couldn't get around to reading this bill in 6 years, then the only reason they are blocking it is because they don't like its consequences. That is what committees are for, right? To determine the potential effects of the bill and devise amendments to its final version? So if it was so flawed, why not allow it to go through committee and then offer amendments? After all, the Republicans have control of the House; if they don't like the bill let them amend it.
 

Norm Stansfield

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That's the whole point of the committee....of which Cantor booted it out of. My guess is Cantor, Boehner, Pelosi, and other top dogs just wants to sweep this under the rug until after the holidays when the media and the public has forgotten about it.
Right. That's the guess of the guy who wrote your article, too. Both guesses lack any kind of factual evidence to back them up. But at least now we know why you picked the shitty article: you agree with it. You think that's exactly how people should make up their minds about political issues: guess.
 

OccupyWackbag

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Of course. There is now way that these fat cats are going to do the right thing.
 

Party Rooster

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Right. That's the guess of the guy who wrote your article, too. Both guesses lack any kind of factual evidence to back them up. But at least now we know why you picked the shitty article: you agree with it. You think that's exactly how people should make up their minds about political issues: guess.
So you're just going to take Cantor's word for it? Seems you're usually a lot more cynical around here when it comes to politicians and their motives. Again, why boot it out of committee, where amendments and revisions could have been introduced?
 

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*Update*

U.S. Senate will vote on insider trading

Published: Monday, January 30, 2012, 5:30 AM
Mary Orndorff -- The Birmingham News

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate will vote today on legislation to clarify federal laws against insider trading by members of Congress, one of few ideas that currently has bipartisan support in both houses.

Bills have been pending in Congress for years but they hit the fast track after a book and corresponding national news report in November accused several members, including Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, of using nonpublic information gleaned in the halls of Congress to guide their personal investment decisions.

President Barack Obama mentioned the issue in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, and on Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled a procedural vote on the Senate version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, for today.

Bachus has denied wrongdoing and disputed the findings in the book "Throw Them All Out," which ignited the concerns on Capitol Hill.

Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, held a hearing on the House version of the legislation in December and scheduled a vote, but House leadership postponed it. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia later said he planned to pursue an expanded version of the bill.

"Chairman Bachus believes it is absolutely imperative that legislation addressing this issue be approved by the House," said his committee spokesman Jeff Emerson.

Supporters of the legislation, which are now many from both parties, say it's needed to clarify that existing laws against insider trading not only apply to members of Congress, but will also help prosecutors and regulators investigate and prosecute such cases. The Senate bill also includes a requirement that members of Congress disclose their personal financial information more often and in an electronically searchable format, as opposed to the once-a-year paper filings.

"I hope the Senate passes the STOCK Act and sends a unified message to the American people that Congress is not above the law and will be held accountable," said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and a leading sponsor. "We have to earn back the trust of the American people, and I think this bill helps clarify that members and staff are here to serve--not to profit from privileged information."

Bachus has always been an active stock trader but he stopped in October 2010, just before he became chairman of the committee, after questions about his trading persisted. For example, as the banking crisis unfolded in September 2008 and he was part of the high-level negotiations over the bailout, Bachus was making trades that paid off as the markets dropped.

Bachus has argued that the crisis and the rescue package were front page news around the world, not secret information that drove his trading.

A spokesman for Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said he supports the STOCK Act, but wants to make sure its rules also apply to executive branch employees.

A spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions said he had not considered how he'll vote.

http://blog.al.com/sweethome/2012/01/us_senate_will_vote_on_insider.html
 

Ballbuster1

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"I hope the Senate passes the STOCK Act and sends a unified message to the American people that Congress is not above the law and will be held accountable," said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and a leading sponsor.
I would hope so too. My wife works for a large financial institution
and there's tons of regulations on us regarding investments to
insure she's not taking advantage of her position to make money.

For our elected officials to be able to use inside info to make money
is just fucking disguising. Especially considering how bad they already
:rap: us for their pay, pensions and health care.
 

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Senate passes insider-trading bill

By Ted Barrett, CNN Senior Congressional Producer
updated 6:59 PM EST, Thu February 2, 2012

Washington (CNN) -- Aiming to restore voters' faith in Congress, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday that makes clear it's illegal for members of Congress, their staffs and many executive-branch employees to trade stocks and other securities based on inside information learned on the job.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which President Barack Obama has urged Congress to approve, passed 96 to 3.

The bill states that insider trading is criminal and requires public disclosure online of any trades within 30 days of a transaction. It was aimed initially just at Capitol Hill. However, Republicans clamored for the inclusion of executive-branch employees.

"The same standards should apply to the White House and the executive agencies that spend hundreds of billions of dollars at the president's direction," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.

Obama, referring to his State of the Union address, said in a statement: "Last week, I called on Congress to pass a bill that makes clear that Members of Congress may not engage in insider trading ... 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."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, issued a statement after the Senate vote saying the House may take up the STOCK Act next week.

"We will quickly review the entire bill and the amendments that were added today 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," Cantor said in the statement.

Senators approved an amendment by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, that Republicans said would require about 28,000 senior executive-branch employees to abide by the new disclosures. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, a key backer of the bill, opposed the provision, warning its reach could be far broader. He said it would affect as many as 300,000 federal workers, including "drivers (and) secretaries."

Lieberman wanted to include only about 2,000 of the most senior executive-branch employees -- those "who hold positions most equivalent to those of us in Congress who are policymakers," he said.

Shelby said his approach "creates parity, fairness and true transparency."

The STOCK Act became a catchall bill for ethics-related changes lawmakers want to impose on Congress. Several senators argued that with the approval rating for the institution near single digits, they owed it to the American people to adopt strict reforms to restore confidence.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, won approval of an amendment that would regulate people who gather "political intelligence" from lawmakers and their staffs with the purpose of using the information to make investment and business decisions. It would require these operators to register and abide by rules in the way lobbyists do.

Lieberman said he wanted more study of the issue.

But Grassley urged senators "not to vote for Wall Street, vote for my amendment," and pulled out a narrow win.

An amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, passed easily. It would require lawmakers and their staffs and many top executive-branch employees to disclose the terms of their home mortgages. Boxer, as chair of the Senate ethics committee, recently conducted investigations of two senators who were accused of getting sweetheart deals from the mortgage firm Countrywide Financial.

Another measure quickly approved was proposed by Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal. It expands the list of felonies a lawmaker could be found guilty of that would result in the revocation of his or her congressional pension.

"No official convicted of a felony in connection with his official duties as a member of Congress should receive one dime of taxpayer money," Blumenthal said.

An amendment from Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, which was approved, would block bonuses for executives at the controversial mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

However, an amendment to ban permanently legislative earmarks was defeated on a vote of 40-59. While there is currently a voluntary moratorium on earmarks in the chamber, there are many senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who are determined to allow them again.

A separate earmark-related amendment by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, also failed. It would have allowed earmarks but only if they first were examined and approved by an authorizing committee of Congress.

Some amendments weren't related directly to the STOCK Act and were defeated. They included a measure to eliminate duplicative government programs proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma; and a measure aimed at creating term limits for senators offered by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/02/politics/senate-insider-trading/index.html
Love how they couldn't waste an opportunity to throw unrelated proposals into the bill.
 

Von Maestro

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Love how they couldn't waste an opportunity to throw unrelated proposals into the bill.
Love how two common sense ideas that run contrary to the personal agendas of the self-serving assholes in the Senate have no chance of passing on their own, so the only chance they even have to get through is to be tacked on to an unrelated bill.
 

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*Related*

Members of Congress trade in companies while making laws that affect those same firms

By Dan Keating, David S. Fallis, Kimberly Kindy and Scott Higham,
Published: June 23

One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.

The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010.

Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation. The 130 lawmakers traded stocks or bonds in companies as bills passed through their committees or while Congress was still considering the legislation. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, 68 to 62.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) reported buying $25,000 in bonds in a genetic-technology company around the time that he released a hold on legislation the firm supported. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) sold between $50,000 and $100,000 in General Electric stock shortly before a Republican filibuster killed legislation sought by the company. The family of Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) bought between $286,000 and $690,000 in a high-tech company interested in a bill under his committee’s jurisdiction.

The trades were uncovered as part of an ongoing examination by The Post of the intersection between the personal finances of lawmakers and their professional duties. Earlier this year, Congress responded to criticism of potential conflicts of interest by passing the Stock Act, which bars lawmakers, their staffs and top executive branch officials from trading on inside information acquired on Capitol Hill.

But the act failed to address the most elemental difference between Congress and the other branches of government: Congress forbids top administration officials, for instance, from trading stocks in industries they oversee and can influence. The lawmakers, by contrast, can still invest in firms even as they create laws that can affect the bottom line of the companies.

“If you have major responsibility for drafting legislation that directly affects particular companies, then you shouldn’t be trading in their stock,” said Dennis Thompson, a professor of public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and author of “Ethics in Congress: From Individual to Institutional Corruption.” “Committee chairs especially shouldn’t be in the position of potentially benefiting from trades in companies that stand to gain or lose from actions the committee takes.”

The Post analysis does not provide evidence of insider trading, which requires showing that lawmakers knowingly used confidential information to make trades benefiting themselves. Instead, the review shows that lawmakers routinely make trades that raise questions about potential conflicts and illustrate the weaker standard that Congress applies to itself.

More than a dozen lawmakers contacted by The Post defended the timing of their trades and the legislation before their committees as coincidental and said they did not know that the companies they traded were registered to lobby on bills they were considering. In interviews and through spokesmen, they said brokers made the trades and they had little or no input. Some said their spouses handled their investments. With diverse portfolios, they said, overlap is inevitable.

Richard W. Painter, who was chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, said those explanations do not provide ethical cover.

“Your wife isn’t a blind trust. Your financial adviser isn’t either,” Painter said. “If you truly want to create some distance, you should set up a blind trust. The rules that Congress has set for itself with blind trusts are a lot more liberal than the rules they created for the executive branch. This should be the route they take if they want the public to believe they don’t know what’s going on with their investments.”

Only six members of the Senate have set up blind trusts that have been approved by the ethics committee. The House does not keep a tally of the number of members who set up such trusts.

Under ethics rules, lawmakers may establish a blind trust by shifting all of their assets into an account managed by a financial adviser. The lawmaker may set general parameters for the blind trust investment decisions, but they surrender control and cannot know the details of the decisions.

Georgia State University professor Alan J. Ziobrowski said lawmakers who own stocks in companies lobbying on legislation before them have built-in conflicts.

“You can’t get into their heads to know what is motivating them,” said Ziobrowski, whose research helped prompt the initial push for the Stock Act by showing that members of Congress outperformed the market as a whole — senators by 10 percent and representatives by 6 percent. “Are they thinking about their investment, or about what is best for their constituents?”

The Post analysis is based on a comparison of federal financial disclosure forms from all members of Congress to a wide array of public records, drawing on work by the Center for Responsive Politics and Govtrack.us to convert paper documents to databases. The analysis does not include 2011 data because they have not yet been computerized.

Under Congress’s interpretation of its own conflict rules, lawmakers can take official actions that benefit themselves as long as they are not the sole beneficiaries.

Former representative Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who co-authored the original, unsuccessful version of the Stock Act in 2006, said members of Congress and their staffs do not understand that public trust is eroded when people see lawmakers take actions that have the potential to benefit themselves.

“They don’t get it, but they need to,” Baird said. “Why? Because people who are taking actions for venal and nefarious purposes might make the same argument you’re making about your innocence. That’s why if there is an appearance of an impropriety, there just might be an impropriety. Members need to bend over backwards to show people they are there for the good of the country.”

Hold on bill lifted, bonds bought

In 2007, Sen. Coburn placed a legislative hold on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, saying he wanted changes to address fears about exposing employers and insurance companies to lawsuits. The bill prohibited employers and health insurers from using genetic information to discriminate.

After negotiating a compromise on April 22, 2008, Coburn released his hold.

On that day and the day after, Coburn’s financial disclosure form shows a total of three bond purchases in Affymetrix, a pioneering genetic technology firm that was one of 33 companies registered to lobby on the legislation.

Affymetrix lobbied on only a handful of bills that session. Coburn is one of five lawmakers who reported buying and selling Affymetrix stocks or bonds since 2004.

In an interview, Coburn said that he and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) both held up the bill. “We actually negotiated some better things into the bill,” Coburn said. “I don’t think it had anything to do with Affymetrix.”

Coburn said his Affymetrix bond purchases, worth $25,000, were made without his knowledge by Pinnacle Investment Advisors in Tulsa. The timing, he said, was coincidental.

John Hart, Coburn’s communications director, said that Affymetrix did not lobby Coburn and that his hold had no bearing on the company’s value. Hart said Coburn has placed hundreds of holds since 2005.

“There is no evidence Dr. Coburn had even heard of Affymetrix before his broker made a purchase, and there is no evidence his actions affected the value of the company,” Hart said. “If there was a connection, you could argue it hurt the company — the stock lost half its value. Plus, it would be a stretch to suggest he engaged in procedural gymnastics in order to affect a trade.”

Pinnacle managing partner David Poarch said he didn’t discuss the Affymetrix purchase with the senator. He said Pinnacle bought about $1.7 million worth of convertible bonds in the company on April 22, 2008, for 104 of the firm’s 350 clients. Poarch said the firm sold those bonds for all their clients last year, including for Coburn, who earned a 35 percent profit on his investment.

Poarch said he meets face-to-face with the senator once a year, and they might speak over the phone two or three times during that period to map out investment strategies. The senator rarely directs him to make trades, he said.

“In some of our discussions, he’ll indicate sectors he likes,” Poarch said, noting that the senator rarely directs Pinnacle to make specific trades.

Coburn said he gives Poarch only general advice.

“I’ve never had a conversation with him other than, ‘Here’s what I think is going to happen to the economy, so you guys ought to listen,’ ” he said.

Affymetrix officials did not return calls seeking comment. After the genetic bill became law in May 2008, Affymetrix praised its passage in a news release. “We have actively supported this much-needed legislation for more than seven years and we are pleased to see the U.S. government take steps toward addressing the issues around genetic discrimination,” said Stephen P.A. Fodor, the company’s founder.

Shining light on GE trades

Rep. Whitfield trades infrequently, but several of his transactions have coincided with major legislation before him.

Whitfield is a member of an energy subcommittee that handled the 2008 carbon-cap proposal intended to address rising public concern about global warming. It had the support of major companies and the Democrats who were in charge of both chambers at the time.

General Electric, which had created a subsidiary to help businesses manage carbon emissions, lobbied heavily in favor of the bill.

Whitfield sold his holdings in GE, worth between $50,000 and $100,000, on May 5, 2008, for $32 per share. (Exact amounts are unavailable because members of Congress are allowed to report ranges for the values of their transactions.) He had held the stock for 12 years.

Although the cap had appeared to be gaining momentum, Whitfield’s Republican colleagues in the Senate scuttled the bill in early June with parliamentary actions and a threatened filibuster.

After the bill died, the stock dropped to $26 — $6 less than the price when Whitfield sold.

Whitfield’s spokeswoman, Corry Schiermeyer, said his trade had nothing to do with the legislation, which she said was never going to get past Republican opposition.

The trade was one of the two largest stock sales by Whitfield since 2004.

The other came when Whitfield sold between $50,000 and $100,000 in the defense conglomerate United Technologies in October 2009 — the same day that his subcommittee approved a Democratic bill to strengthen rules requiring companies to secure chemical facilities. United Technologies had registered to lobby on that bill, but Whitfield’s staff members said their records do not show that the company lobbied him.

Altogether, Whitfield made 23 trades worth between $275,000 and $900,000 in companies registered to lobby before his committee, encompassing 38 percent of his stock trades between 2007 and 2010.

Schiermeyer said Whitfield adhered to the relevant ethics rules.

“It’s clear that his role on the Energy and Commerce Committee has no relation to his stock trades,” Schiermeyer said. “The congressman believes the best approach to avoid a semblance of conflict of interest is to follow the rules and be transparent, and that is what he does.”

Lawmakers can affect bills in other ways.

Members of the Rules Committee, for example, have the power to quash amendments and set the terms for floor debate on all bills.

In July 2005, the Rules Committee, chaired by Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), blocked an amendment to a medical malpractice bill that ran against the interests of Merck & Co., the giant pharmaceutical company. Five months earlier, the day the bill was introduced, Dreier had purchased between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of stock in Merck.

The bill, which Dreier had co-sponsored, contained medical malpractice limits sought by Republican lawmakers. The legislation included a provision that would shield drug companies from liability. Merck, which was being sued over claims its Vioxx arthritis medication caused heart attacks, had lobbied heavily in favor of the bill.

Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to strip the liability protection from the bill, arguing that it unfairly protected Merck. As the bill moved through the House, the value of Merck’s stock grew by 15 percent.

The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

A newer version of the bill made it through the House this year, but has failed to gain traction in the Senate. Dreier declined requests for comment. His spokeswoman said he could not recall the trade, which was made by an investment adviser.

“In managing his finances, Mr. Dreier abides by the letter and the spirit of the rules,” spokeswoman Jo Maney said. “Day-to-day investment decisions for his account are made by an independent investment professional. His co-sponsorship of the legislation in question was based on long-standing support for pro-market health-care reforms. Furthermore, his actions as Rules Committee chairman have always been guided by his principles and those of the leadership he serves.”

Dreier’s office did not provide access to his investment adviser.

A matter of trusts

Some of Congress’s wealthiest members avoid potential conflicts by putting their assets in blind trusts approved by congressional ethics committees. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), for example, reports holding more than $50 million in such a trust. Under ethics rules, Kohl cannot know the nature of his investments and must remain unaware of how they are managed.

Other wealthy members do not have financial portfolios in blind trusts. Their portfolios are so vast that their financial disclosure reports exceed a hundred pages and their holdings overlap with almost every bill they handle.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who married Teresa Heinz of the ketchup fortune, had the highest value of overlapped trades — between $42 million and $86 million — in companies registered to lobby before him. Kerry said he does not have any conflicts, because he has no control over the assets in his and his wife’s family trusts.

Rep. McCaul, married to Linda Mays, whose fortune traces back to Clear Channel Communications, had the highest number of overlapping trades, totaling between $5 million and $23 million, according to analysis of financial disclosure forms listing his family’s holdings.

Some of those investments were in Thermo Fisher Scientific, which in 2009 had registered to lobby on a food safety bill under the jurisdiction of the Homeland Security Committee. McCaul was a member of that committee. Among other things, the company makes equipment to detect contaminated food.

While the bill was pending, McCaul toured the company’s Austin plant and extolled the technology as “great for food safety and protecting the American people.”

As the bill moved forward, his family bought stock in Thermo Fisher. Trusts for his wife and children bought between $286,000 and $690,000 in nine transactions, the largest being for between $250,000 and $500,000 in November 2010 during final negotiations before the bill passed. The family bought the stock at prices from $33.50 to $44. McCaul’s 2011 financial disclosure showed the family still owned it. The current stock price is a little more than $50.

McCaul said there is no conflict between his legislative duties and his wife’s holdings, because he has no access to her portfolio and he never talks to her about her investment decisions.

“Congressman McCaul . . . is legally precluded from having any involvement or knowledge of specific investment decisions made with regard to securities listed as his wife’s separate property,” said his spokesman, Mike Rosen.

Railroad rules

In 2009, the House Judiciary subcommittee on courts, the Internet and intellectual property discussed the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act, aimed at ending rail carriers’ exemptions from federal antitrust laws.

A family trust overseen by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), a subcommittee member, sold 2,000 shares of CSX after a subcommittee hearing and before the final changes were made to the bill.

The shares generated a $40,000 net profit, records show. The same day, the trust bought $7,700 in Norfolk Southern stock.

The two rail carriers were among 62 companies lobbying on the bill.

Sensenbrenner’s spokeswoman said the trades were initiated by a fund manager who handles the investments for the trust that benefits the lawmaker’s sister.

“Congressman Sensenbrenner’s interaction with the trust is almost nothing,” spokeswoman Amanda Infield said. **“He doesn’t benefit from the trust, except for an administrative fee as trustee. He is not a beneficiary, and he doesn’t exercise influence over or give input into the investment decisions. He has to sign off on the decisions, but he hasn’t overridden an investment decision, which is made by JPMorgan Chase.”

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee since 1993, reported making trades in John Deere when the Illinois-based company was registered to lobby on tax and trade legislation before his committee between 2007 and 2010. The biggest single transaction was between $50,000 and $100,000. When the purchase was made in March 2009, Deere stock was $32 a share. The stock now trades at $75 per share.

Camp declined through his spokesman to be interviewed or provide additional information about his trades and how his portfolio is managed.

“All of the Congressman’s financial information are fully disclosed in accordance with the law,” Sage Eastman, a senior adviser to Camp, said in an e-mail. “His stock portfolio is managed by a firm. He does not make decisions about when to buy or sell a stock.”

Deputy graphics director Karen Yourish and researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this article.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...6/23/gJQAlXwVyV_story.html?wprss=rss_politics
 

Larz

****Self-Banned****
It's My Birthday!
Feb 12, 2006
2,678
2
228
NYC E. Village, No Homo
#24
The only bullshit here is that congress can trade on insider information but the people can't.

Just eliminate insider trading laws and let people use information to their advantage. The market will simply balance it all out.
 

KRSOne

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
13,017
2,985
258
Sunnydale
#25
I like how its already illegal to insider trade but they have to make a new law to let congress know they aren't above the law. I say just throw Pelosi and the rest of them in Martha Stewart's old cell.