I Helped Write the STOCK Act. It Didn’t Go Far Enough.

“The Covid-19 crisis is exactly the kind of moment when we need our leaders to reassure and protect us most. Instead, recent reports suggest several United States senators responded by protecting themselves first, selling stock to avoid personal financial losses from a growing public health crisis that they knew, from confidential intelligence briefings, was probably going to be much worse than the public knew at the time.”

“Should members of Congress even be permitted to trade securities or engage in significant outside business activities at all? I don’t think they should.”

This isn’t the first time that members of Congress have faced accusations that they misused information they learned on the job for their personal benefit. In November 2011, “60 Minutes” released an investigative report suggesting that several had engaged in extensive stock trading after learning secret details regarding the last financial crisis, in 2008-09. The problem was that while it looked and smelled like corruption, not everyone agreed that it violated federal securities laws.”  

“Members of Congress and their staffs learn a lot of information that the general public doesn’t know: They get briefings from others in government; they get selective information from large companies and trade associations. Congressional members are granted access to information precisely because they have the ability to influence outcomes, and they are entrusted to use their knowledge to make the best decisions for our country. Shouldn’t they then have a “duty” to not use the information they learn in their jobs for their own personal financial benefit?”

“Why should we expect them to even be capable when making business decisions of separating what they know as a result of their governmental job and what they might otherwise know as private individuals?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *