February 6, 2012
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Enact “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act,” Bill Sponsored by 281 Members or Nearly Two-Thirds of House
Last week, the Senate passed the bipartisan “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” (STOCK) Act by an overwhelming vote of 96 to 3. Reform groups strongly supported this legislation.
The Senate-passed bill, S. 2038, makes clear that the laws against insider trading apply to Congress and those who do business with Congress. The legislation also establishes real-time disclosure requirements for trading activity by members of Congress and the Executive Branch and closes major loopholes in the crucial honest services fraud statute and the gratuities statute so that important anti-corruption laws can again be effectively enforced.
Our organizations strongly urge the House to vote on and pass the Senate-passed bill and send it immediately to President Obama for his signature. President Obama has made clear that he will sign the STOCK Act as soon as it reaches him.
The organizations include Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters, OMB Watch, Project On Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG.
In the event the House Republican leadership is not willing to schedule the Senate-passed bill for a vote, we strongly support the bipartisan House version of the STOCK Act, H.R. 1148, sponsored by Reps. Timothy Walz (D-MN) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and co-sponsored by 279 House members, or nearly two-thirds of the House. Absent the ability to vote on the Senate-passed bill, it is essential that the House Republican leadership provide the opportunity for a vote on H.R. 1148 on the House floor. As The New York Times noted in an editorial (February 4, 2012), “House leaders would be foolish to weaken or delay the reform effort.”
Important provisions added on the Senate floor to strengthen the legislation should also be in order as amendments to H.R. 1148, including the legislation fixing the honest services and gratuities statutes, sponsored in the House by Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) and unanimously reported out by the House Judiciary Committee.
The Senate has passed important ethics and anti-corruption legislation at a time when the country is deeply skeptical about Congress and the way it is conducting its business. The House of Representatives should do no less and should move quickly to pass strong new ethics rules and anti-corruption provisions.
Vote ‘YES’ on the STOCK Act and send the legislation to President Obama.
Campaign Legal Center
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
League of Women Voters
Project On Government Oversight