Sen. Scott Brown is trying to stop the apparently widespread practice of members of Congress trading on inside information just days after 60 Minutes gave extra oomph to the issue. Sunday's report detailed lucrative trades made by numerous congressmen on companies soon to be affected by Congressional actions. (For a good primer, read Meghan McArdle's piece in the November issue of The Atlantic.) Now, Brown has filed the "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge," or STOCK Act. CNN reports:
The bill filed Tuesday by Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown would make it illegal for elected congressional officials, their staffs and executive branch employees to use information about pending bills that's not available to the general public in making investment decisions. It would also forbid them from making such information public for personal gain.
Or, in essence they'd be held to the same standards of those in the private sector with insider information. Brown and 60 Minutes aren't exactly the first to the case though. Rep. Louise Slaughter filed a similar bill in the House five years ago, but it hadn't really gained traction with her colleagues. Indeed, yesterday, we wrote about the attempts of Congress members implicated in the 60 Minutes report to defuse its allegations, so it's interesting to see conflict even within Congress over the issue as well as some further steps to address it.