Prior to the release of Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer’s blockbuster book, Throw Them All Out, legislative efforts to pass a bill banning insider trading by members of Congress had floundered.
But all that is changing–and fast.
Congressman Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) says that before the 60 Minutes report on Schweizer’s book, his STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act, H.R. 1148, had only garnered four cosponsors in Congress since he and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) re-introduced the legislation on March 18, 2011.
In the two days since the 60 Minutes program aired, Walz says the number of House members supporting the bill has shot up to thirty-five, and climbing.
“I’m coming from the perspective of ‘Are you kidding me? This isn’t a law already?'” Walz told Minnesota’s Mankato Free Press.
According to Walz’s website, the STOCK Act:
- Prohibits Members and employees of Congress from buying or selling securities, swaps, security based swaps, or commodity futures based on nonpublic information they obtain because of their status;
- Prohibits Executive Branch employees from buying or selling securities, swaps, security based swaps, or commodity futures based on nonpublic information they obtain because of their status;
- Prohibits those outside Congress from buying or selling securities, swaps, security based swaps, or commodity futures based on nonpublic information obtained from within Congress or the Executive Branch;
- Prohibits Members and employees of Congress from disclosing any non-public information about any pending or prospective legislative action for investment purposes;
- Requires Members and employees of Congress to report the purchase, sale or exchange of any stock, bond, or commodity future transaction in excess of $1,000 within 90 days. Members and employees who choose to place their stock in holdings in blind trusts or mutual funds would be exempt from the reporting requirement; and,
- Requires firms that specialize in “political intelligence” and that obtain their information directly from Congress to register with the House and Senate, much like lobbying firms are now required to do.
The legislation, which was originally introduced by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) in 2006, has also attracted bipartisan support in the Senate, with Sen. Scott Brown (D-MA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) proposing their own version of the bill.
Congressman Walz says the 60 Minutes report on Throw Them All Out is making all the difference.
“If you didn’t think Congress’ approval rating can go any lower than 9 percent, have them watch the 60 Minutes story,” he told the Mankato Free Press. “And that’s a problem.”