February 10, 2012
The United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a legislation that would eliminate insider trading in the nation’s Congress.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, passed by a 417-2 vote on Thursday, would bar members of Congress and their employees from using exclusive information they learned as lawmakers for their financial benefit.
The Senate passed the anti-insider trading bill by a 96-3 vote last week.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), who drafted the bill, called the passage of the bill a victory for the American people.
“No matter how powerful our position, nor how hallowed the halls we walk, no one should be above the law,” said Slaughter.
“With the passage of the STOCK Act, we can move one step closer to living up to the faith and trust bestowed upon us by the American people – the citizens for whom we serve,” the Congresswoman added.
The bill, among other provisions, requires US lawmakers to publicly report any trades of more than 1,000 dollars within 90 days.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, however, called the House-passed version of the bill “seriously watered-down” as it omitted important Senate provisions.
The legislation was first introduced in 2006, but has been getting attention over the last three months following news reports about lawmakers profiting from information they had received as part of their jobs.
During his State of the Union address to Congress last month, US President Barack Obama also called for the practice to be banned.
Analysts believe that the move by Congress is an attempt to reverse its nosedive approval ratings among US citizens, which polls show are at historic lows.
According to a February 2–5 poll conducted by Gallup organization, approval rating of Congress tumbled to 10 percent, the lowest since the polling company began keeping track in 1974.