Common Cause urges conferees to strengthen STOCK Act

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  • Dale Eisman

Today’s strong, bipartisan vote on the STOCK Act in the House of Representatives is a hopeful sign that members of Congress are serious about ethics reform; but to be truly meaningful, that vote must be followed by quick action in a conference committee to restore key provisions excised by the House leadership, Common Cause said.

“When it goes to the President, this good bill should include rules to bring some transparency to the buying and selling of legislative intelligence,” said Bob Edgar, president and CEO of the non-profit government watchdog group. “It’s unfortunate that House Republican leaders removed language that would make people engaged in that business register and meet the same requirements as lobbyists in reporting on their activities.

“This ought not to become a partisan issue. I’m encouraged that Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican, has been particularly outspoken on the need to bring transparency to political intelligence gathering, a Washington growth industry,” Edgar added. “When the bill gets to conference, House Republicans should listen to him.”

The STOCK Act is designed to strengthen existing laws that ban corporate executives from trading stocks based on information unavailable to the general public; it specifies that lawmakers and executive branch employees who obtain confidential business information through their work cannot use that information to play the markets.