December 13, 2011 - Legal Center Urges Senate Committee to Pass Strong Ban on Congressional Insider Trading at Tomorrow’s Markup
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, and a coalition of reform groups, urged the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs to pass a strong version of a bill banning congressional insider trading at its markup of the legislation tomorrow. The “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” (STOCK Act) has seen a groundswell of congressional support in the wake of a scathing CBS News “60 Minutes” piece on congressional insider trading last month.
“It is vitally important that Congress pass strong legislation in this instance to make clear that Members are not above the law. This is a necessary first step for Congress to begin repairing its historically low approval ratings. A Gallup poll this week that showed Members of Congress had leapfrogged telemarketers, car salespeople and even lobbyists to tie an all-time low for any profession in terms of the public’s view of Members’ honesty and ethical standards,” said Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center Policy Director. “At least the Senate is continuing to move forward on with this legislation while in the House Republican Leadership abruptly cancelled a planned markup of companion legislation despite widespread public outrage and a majority of House Members cosponsoring the legislation.”
The December 12, 2011 Gallup poll found that sixty-four percent of Americans rate the honesty and ethical standards of Members of Congress as "low" or "very low," equaling the record "low"/"very low" rating for any profession since Gallup began this ranking in 1976. The record low rating matched by Congress was previously held exclusively by lobbyists in a 2008 poll. To view the Gallup poll, click here.
The full Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs will markup the STOCK Act at a hearing to be held on Wednesday, December 14, at 10:00 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room SD-342.
The organizations signing the letter include the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Public Citizen, the Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG.
The full text of the letter to the committee follows below.
December 13, 2011
The Hon. Joseph Lieberman, Chairman
The Hon. Susan Collins, Ranking Member
Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
Washington, D.C. 20510
Support the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act”
And Send Strong Legislation to the Senate Floor for Full Consideration
Dear Chairman and Ranking Member:
Our organizations – the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Public Citizen, the Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG – strongly support passage of the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” (STOCK Act), designed to prevent congressional insider trading.
We urge the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs to approve a strong version of the legislation at its markup on Wednesday and send it to the Senate floor for final passage.
The STOCK Act provides a clear and unambiguous application of the laws against insider trading to members of Congress and their staff, and others who do business with Congress. The Act also provides for disclosure to ensure compliance with the law.
The STOCK Act has widespread support, including strong bipartisan support from members of Congress. We urge the Committee to follow through on the public’s expectation that Congress will act promptly to address this important issue.
The Committee is expected to mark-up legislation that embodies key elements of the legislation sponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.), and by 25 other Senators as well. We urge the Committee to report the bill tomorrow and the Senate to act on the legislation either before the Senate adjourns this year or at the outset of next year’s session.
Campaign Legal Center
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington