Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took to the Senate floor today to urge her colleagues to pass the bipartisan STOCK Act that would make insider trading in Congress clearly and expressly illegal.
Senator Gillibrand’s full remarks:
Like millions of American’s all across the country, I was shocked to learn that insider trading by members of Congress, their families, or their staff, using non-public information gained through their Congressional work is not clearly and expressly prohibited by law and the rules of Congress.
The American people need to know that their elected leaders play by the exact same rules that they play by. They also deserve the right to know their lawmakers’ only interest is what’s best for the country, not their own financial interests.
Members of Congress, their families and staff shouldn’t be able to gain personal profits from information they have access to that everyday middle class families don’t. It’s simply not right — nobody should be above the rules.
I introduced a bipartisan bill in the Senate with 28 of our colleagues – from both sides of the aisle — to close this loophole.
This STOCK Act legislation is very similar to the legislation introduced by my friends in the House of Representatives, Louise Slaughter and Tim Walz. I want to thank them for their longstanding and dedicated leadership.
I want to thank Chairman Lieberman, Ranking Member Collins and all of the Committee members for their work in acting swiftly to move this bipartisan common sense bill to the floor for a vote. I also want to thank Leader Reid for his leadership and support for bringing up this bill before the full Senate.
Our bill, which has received the support of at least seven good government advocacy groups, covers two important principles:
- First — Members of Congress, their families and their staff should be barred from buying or selling securities on the basis of knowledge gained through their Congressional service – or from using that knowledge to tip off anyone else. The SEC and CFTC must be empowered to investigate these cases. To provide additional teeth — such acts should also be a violation of Congress’s own rules, to make clear that this activity is inappropriate.
- And, second, members should be required to disclose major transactions within 30 days and make this information available online for their constituents to see, providing dramatically improved oversight and accountability from the current annual reporting requirements.
I am pleased the final product that passed with bipartisan support in the committee is a strong bill with teeth – and includes measure such as ensuring members of Congress cannot tip off others with non-public information gained through their duties and ensures trading from this information would also be a violation of Congress’ own ethics rules.
Some critics will say this bill is unnecessary and already covered under current statutes.
I have spoken with experts tasked in the past with investigations of this nature who strongly disagree. We must make it unambiguous that this kind of behavior is illegal.
As my home state newspaper the Buffalo News noted, “… the STOCK Act would ensure that it’s the people’s business being attended to.”
President Obama said to us in his State of the Union – send this bill and he’ll sign it right away. We shouldn’t delay. It is time to act and take a step right now to begin restoring trust to this broken Congress.