The STOCK Act Passes in the Senate
The STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) – legislation to bar members of Congress from trading stocks based on nonpublic information they have obtained in the course of their congressional work – passed the Senate Thursday in a 96 to 3 vote.
The legislation still needs to pass the House. President Obama, who said in a statement he was “pleased” by the Senate vote, has vowed to quickly sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
Members of Congress are already subject to insider trading laws. But it is currently within the law for a lawmaker to buy a company’s stock after learning, for example, that an upcoming bill will grant that company a large government contract.
The ultimate fate of the STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act, which comes in the wake of a “60 Minutes” story on potential congressional insider trading, remains unclear – though its prospects are relatively good. Passage in the Senate was complicated by a flurry of amendments added to the legislation, including a proposal that senators be prevented from owning individual stocks unless they are in a blind trust, and another that senators who become lobbyists lose their pensions. Some lawmakers expressed skittishness at the efforts to broaden the scope of the legislation.