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Entries in Stock Act (4)

Thursday
Mar222012

Senate Passes Insider Trading Ban; STOCK Act Goes to Obama 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The STOCK act, House-passed legislation to ban members of Congress from benefiting from insider stock trading, has now also passed in the Senate by a vote of 96-3.

The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

The bill reaffirms that members of Congress, Congressional staff, and Executive and Judicial branch officials are not exempt from the insider trading prohibitions arising under securities and commodities laws.

Members of Congress have consistently cited this legislation as one that could restore some of the badly-needed confidence and trust from the American people.

The bill requires Members and Senior Congressional staff to report the purchase or sale of securities exceeding $1,000 no later than 30 days after the transaction. It requires an electronic disclosure system for the public financial disclosure system, and requires members and senior executive brand officials to disclose the home mortgages.

The bill bans Members, their staff and senior executive and judicial branch employees from participating in initial public offerings in any manner other than what is available to the members of the public.  It strengthens laws relating to denial of Congressional pensions to members who commit public corrupt crimes while serving in Congress and will deny pensions to former Members who commit those crimes while serving in public offices.

The bill also prohibits executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from receiving bonuses while the firms remain in federal conservatorship.

The House of Representatives bill that was the one ultimately passed was widely seen as a more watered down version of the original Senate bill. Democrats complained that the House bill was weaker than the Senate-passed legislation because it eliminated a political intelligence registration requirement and dropped anti-corruption legislation.

Republicans, on the other hand, believed the changes made it stronger because they added provisions expanding the scope of the bill “to fully cover the Executive Branch” and ensure that members of Congress convicted of a crime do not receive taxpayer funded pensions.

The legislation had been stalled in Congress since early last month, after the Senate and the House of Representatives each passed their own versions, but could not agree on one bill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar202012

Congress Revives STOCK Act; Obama Likely to Receive Bill Thursday

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The STOCK act, legislation to ban members of Congress from benefiting from insider stock trading, will move forward in Congress after all.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act had been stalled in Congress since early last month, after the Senate and the House of Representatives each passed their own versions but could not agree on one bill.

Rather than send the two competing bills to a conference committee to hash out the differences, as is typically done on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Tuesday that the Senate will stop their push for their own bill and will now take up the House-passed legislation instead.

Reid said he filed cloture on a “motion to concur” with the House bill, for the sake of getting something passed more quickly.

“It’s my hope that we can resolve this matter expeditiously, thereby make clear Congress’ intent to prohibit insider trading by members of Congress,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

This move allows for no amendments to be offered in the Senate, setting up final passage of the insider trading bill Thursday.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said he is pleased the Senate will be taking up the House-passed bill.

“Members on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol have worked hard on this issue and deserve tremendous credit for their efforts,” Cantor said. “Insider trading by members of Congress is unacceptable, and the STOCK Act will ensure the public knows that the same rules apply to elected officials as everyone else. The House worked to strengthen the STOCK Act and expanded provisions to fully cover the executive branch.”

This issue had not been resolved yet because the House and Senate could not agree on one piece of legislation. After the Senate passed its legislation and sent it over to the House in early February the House made changes to the bill. House Democrats complained that the House bill was weaker than the Senate-passed legislation because it eliminated a political intelligence registration requirement and dropped anti-corruption legislation.

Republicans said the changes made it stronger because they added provisions expanding the scope of the bill “to fully cover the Executive Branch” and ensure that members of Congress convicted of a crime do not receive taxpayer-funded pensions.

Republicans argue they have strengthened the Senate’s legislation by, among other changes, adding a provision that implicitly targets House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. That provision amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to stipulate that members of Congress “may not purchase securities that are the subject of an initial public offering … in any manner other than is available to members of the public generally.”

Reid’s decision to stomach a bill perceived by Democrats to be weaker may be mindful of the public’s low approval of Congress. Members of Congress have consistently cited this legislation as one that could restore some of the needed confidence and trust of the American people.

This bill could be headed towards the president’s desk for final signature as soon as Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb102012

Head of House Financial Services Under Investigation for Insider Trading

Bachus [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Just hours after the House passed a bill to stop lawmakers from profiting from inside knowledge that can make them rich through stock buys, The Washington Post reports Friday that Republican Spencer Bachus of Alabama is now being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

According to the Post, the OCE, an independent body that can make recommendations to the House Ethics Committee, is questioning trades Bachus listed on his annual financial disclose form.

Specifically, the agency wants to know more about Bachus' trades that were linked to announcements made by the government and industries under his oversight as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

There has been no recent instance of any member of Congress getting nailed for insider trading, although a CBS 60 Minutes piece from last November cast aspersions on Speaker John Boehner, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Bachus, who all denied they profited from inside knowledge.

The Post reports that Bachus' investments were not stock purchases but options so that the lawmaker could buy or sell certain stocks in the future.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb092012

Dems Reluctantly Support Stock Act, Both Parties Bicker About Changes

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As the House prepares to pass its version of the Stock Act Thursday, Democrats claim that even though the changes House Republicans made to the Senate-passed bill had weakened it -- something the GOP flatly denies -- Dems will support it anyway.

Democrats criticized the House version of the Stock Act, or the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, which would ban insider trading by members of Congress -- a wealth-generating practice that is considered a federal crime for everyone else.

Dems took issue with the House for eliminating a “political intelligence” registration requirement and dropping anti-corruption legislation. Political intelligence registration would require analysts and research firms to register with Congress and reveal their contacts on Capitol Hill or in the executive branch of government.

Republicans, however, said they’d made the House bill stronger by adding provisions that extended it to cover the executive branch of government and to ensure that members of Congress convicted of a crime did not receive taxpayer-funded pensions.

One congressional watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, called the Republican bill a “watered-down version” of the Senate bill.

“Rep. Cantor has opposed the Stock Act from the start, and his bill reflects that,” said Crew Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “The majority leader is talking out of both sides of his mouth.  He is trying to take credit for finally responding to an issue that has outraged Americans, while behind closed doors he has taken the side of Wall Street and neutered the tough Senate bill.”

Reluctantly, CREW, along with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, still recommend that the House pass the bill and send it to conference, where the stripped-out provisions could be restored before final passage.

“I support #STOCKAct-also support “Pelosi provision” & thank @GOPLeader for giving me an amendment but sorry he weakened bill,” @NancyPelosi tweeted Wednesday afternoon. Pelosi's provision was created after uproar over a 60 Minutes report that included accusations her husband made profitable trades on Visa and other stock which were motivated by privileged information. Pelosi denied on camera that she had done anything wrong.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had intially stripped the political intelligence requirement, instead preferring to support a year-long Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on the issue.  During the Senate’s amendment process, the requirement was added back into the bill despite the opposition of the Democratic leadership. Republican aides say that the House bill, which also calls for a GAO study, reflects Reid’s preference to examine the impact of a requirement more closely.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Republicans removed the two provisions from the Senate bill because they believed they, “would have made the bill unworkable or raised more questions [than] they answered.”

A senior aide to Cantor further elaborated that the provisions would have raised, "broad constitutional questions.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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