Senate begins debate on insider trading bill
January 30th, 2012
06:27 PM ET
11 years ago

Senate begins debate on insider trading bill

Washington (CNN) - The Senate voted Monday to begin debate on a bill that makes clear insider trading of stocks and other securities by members of Congress and their staffs is illegal.

The vote was 93 to 2, signaling strong bipartisan support for the election-year measure aimed at cleaning up Congress, the one institution most Americans seem to love to hate.

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"Members of Congress and their staffers have a duty to the American people. They may not use privileged information they get on the job for personal profit," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. "But the perception remains that a few members of Congress are using their positions as public servants to serve themselves instead."

A handful of lawmakers – like Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma – oppose the bill arguing insider trading laws already apply to Capitol Hill. However, proponents say there are ambiguities in current insider trading laws that could exempt lawmakers and their staffs.

"Insider trading laws were created to level the playing field and stop Wall Street excesses and members of Congress are not above the law," Reid said Monday on Senate floor. "The STOCK Act will clear up any perception that it's acceptable for members of Congress to profit from insider trading. It will end any confusion members of Congress can be prosecuted with a serious crime. They can be."

"I believe we've come up with a solution that addresses the potential problems that really troubles all of us, and that is public officials using public office for private gain," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a sponsor of the bill.

"It isn't a partisan or ideological issue, it's about cleaning up Washington," said bill co-sponsor Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts. Brown, who is in a tough re-election battle against consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, said he was surprised to learn that no member of Congress or congressional staffer has ever been charged with insider trading.

In addition to making clear that insider trading laws and penalties apply to those on Capitol Hill, the bill requires lawmakers and their staffs to report any stocks, bonds or other securities they buy or sell within 30 days of the transaction.

The House will take up the STOCK Act in February, Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office said Monday.

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Filed under: Congress • Senate
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Jen

    Good – I hope it has real teeth.

    January 30, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. Thomas

    The House will take up the STOCK Act in February, Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office said Monday.

    Did Eric Cantor ever trade in any stock he legislated for ?

    January 30, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. cisco4

    What about the do nothing republican Congress in the House?.. How do you get them moving?..Newt Gingrich said to the Republican House..."Go take a bath"...Yeah.. ging rich....I agree..

    January 30, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Obayashi

    Stop too much debates. Vote on the bill....lets us see who will filibuster it.

    January 30, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. Hair bear

    Insider Trading Bill? I'm not sure I like the sound of this!

    January 30, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. desertrat03

    Why didn't the pinheads in congress vote this into their rules years ago? Many of you pinned politicians became millionaire at the expense of the American tax payers. That's right you pathetic demoCRAPS, you all lead the pack of millionaires.

    January 30, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  7. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Is Eddie "Munster" Cantor still shorting the market as he tries to tank the economy?

    Just askin.

    January 30, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. Larry L

    I'll believe they're serious about insider trading when I see a few of them in prison.

    January 30, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is good that this covers member of Congress and their respective staff. I just hope that Brown doesn't use this as an election issue. He isn't the only one who has proposed this. There was someone in the House that had proposed several times before.

    January 30, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  10. truindep

    CHICAGO (WLS) – Over the course of his presidency, Barack Obama has become one of the most polarizing presidents in U.S. history.

    In a 2011 Gallup poll, Obama’s approval rating among Democrats was 80 percent, while among Republicans was 12 percent, according to a report by The Washington Post. The 68-point gap between political parties surpasses George W. Bush’s 59-point difference in 2007.

    This information suggests a widening rift between Democrats and Republicans that could make the country more difficult to govern in future years.

    January 30, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. Bulworth

    The current bill limits insider trading only on," current business," why not put them under the same laws as everyone else.

    January 30, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  12. CoJo

    interesting the house of republicans have not even taken up this bill never mind voting and passing it. Eric Cantor must need the extra time to talk to his stock broker. The lead insider trader.

    January 30, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    Sounds to me like Seantor Coburn has something to hide.
    So coddle him and say the legislation cannot be used to prosecute prior stock or bond trades etc
    The bigger problem is getting the House to bring the bill to the House floor. At 93/2 its a problem for them.

    January 30, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  14. Mark

    Good. Both side have done this for YEARS and years. And I for one am tired of it.
    Get to work, do something to make this country great again. Stop all this gridlock, stop tring to get rich off the backs
    of the people and do SOMETHING. At this point it won't matter who WE send/keep int the whitehouse if Congress
    won't act on anything but, what is important to them.

    January 31, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. larry5

    What would motivate politicians to give up insider trading. That would be like throwing money away. It can't be a moral issue, they're politicians, after all.

    January 31, 2012 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  16. VRage13

    I thought insider trading was already illegal. Do we really need to duplicate all laws so the political elite understand that if it is illegal for us it is illegal for them too?

    January 31, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  17. jboh

    Why the need for debate? It is a no-brainer. This practice should be illegal already. The bill should be on Pres. Obama's desk tomorrow.

    January 31, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  18. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Brown would be surprised by a lot of things if he ever exercised the slightest curiosity about how and why our government and economy have become so corrupted by the hidden elitists behind the GOBP deathcult.

    January 31, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |