One can sometimes determine what exists or existed by observing what Law has been passed to prohibit or to allow something to exist or not to exist.
The STOCK Act explicitly prohibits that Congress cannot use confidential information that they have access to or which they learn as part of their jobs that gives them an unfair advantage to trade stocks or other securities for their personal benefit.
One would think that Representatives and Senators would know better, but apparently they did not, and thus, after citizens expressed outrage that Legislators not only could do this, but were doing so, the STOCK Act emerged.
STOCK = Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge
One should note that, while the Federalistas today were all smiles, patting themselves on the back for passing this Bill, not very long ago, before this became an issue, almost all of them were mum on this subject, and one must assume that using “insider information,” for which you or I would be promptly thrown in the slammer, after we were investigated as thoroughly as a TSA airport invasive search, and the figurative key thrown away, when we were securely behind bars, was actually indulged in by some Legislators.
I would say that not all the Federalistas succumbed to the temptation to benefit from this, but it is clear, that the internal moral compass of those who did, was completely and thoroughly missing. And you and I know, without mincing words, that it was nothing short of criminal for anyone to benefit in such a manner, simply because there was no law that barred them from it.
Unfortunately the law is not retroactive, and the passing of the STOCK Act is essentially a defacto amnesty on those who did benefit from “insider trading information,” because the law states that that benefitting from such is henceforth illegal.
While there had been within the last decade similar bills introduced in the Legislature, they usually died somewhere in the bowels of the Capitol, and it was not until a clamor for change occurred, after a CBS 60 Minutes episode exposed the unethical practice, that a remedy was put into action.
What specifically does the STOCK Act do? I thought you’d never ask.
It makes it a requirement that Legislators publicly disclose any stocks, bonds, and specific securities that they “trade” within 45 days of the transaction by posting the information on government websites, and “searchable data-bases.” Up until now they had only to report “investments” once a year.
Members of Congress must report the terms of their personal mortages, and they must forfeit pension benefits if they are convicted of specific “corruption offenses” they are found to have committed during their tenure as an elected official.
Legislators AND “high-ranking” government officials are prohibited by the Act from “investing in initial public offerings” in any manner other than what is available to you or I, members of the general public.
The law also requires Congress-persons and “senior federal employees” to report to the respective ethics offices in writing, when they are about to leave government employ, and have begun interviewing for a job in the private sector.
Yet the STOCK Act does not go far enough. So says Senator Chuck Grassley, who wanted to require people whose job it was to collect information from Congress or Federal agencies about Bills that might affect the stock market, to register as lobbyists. Grassley refers to “political intelligence” companies that sell that kind of information to hedge funds and investors in general. This inhibitor was not included in the Bill. Instead there’s just a requirement for a “government study” to be done of such types of political intelligence gathering companies.
Grassley unleashed a barrage of criticism against Senate majority leader Harry Reid for not including “transparency” measures:
“…The majority leader is choosing the path that shuts out political intelligence registration…The Senate gave 60 votes to the political intelligence provision. The broader bill containing the provision received a vote of 96 to 3 in the Senate. The majority leader ignored all of this. His decision is a real blow for good government and transparency. It’s a victory for Wall Street and a defeat for the American people. It’s a victory for the hedge funds and big banks that like the secrecy of the status quo…”
Incidentally, unless there is specifically something in the Bill that says that heretofore Federalistas were exempt from the same laws that applied to you or I, there is no reason why an astute reporter could not document who exactly had access to and might have benefitted from “insider information,” and at least cast some daylight onto the insects that used their federal jobs to profit this way.
They should at least answer for the inability to muster from within themselves the Ethics to operate as something other than a criminal that believes they are entitled to a special status, just because you placed your trust in them.
In the meantime, feast on the video that follows here. Behold the smiley faces, and the patting-themselves-on-the-back for their incredible courage, and note that not one of them stepped up to the “mike” (because it was not included in the tele-prompter, no doubt) and stated that they were ashamed and sorry that they had not acted before now, and that they would launch an immediate investigation into those who profited unfairly until now, and that they would at least estimate how much and how far those that did profit in this way had done so, and would send to them an invoice requiring repayment to the Treasury and/or to their Constituents.
What gall these creatures have that we entrust with the security of our nation.