Online Petition for STOCK Act Gathering Steam

An online petition to ban congressional insider trading has collected 4,488 online signatures.

The petition was started by Rick Smith, a financial writer for the popular investing website The Motley Fool.

For years, Mr. Smith has been championing legislation that would stop members of Congress from profiting off of private information. Given the head of steam his online petition supporting the STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act appears to be gathering, that’s a message that’s beginning to break through.

Even if the STOCK Act or similar bills on the issue pass, Mr. Smith thinks members of Congress should go farther to ensure public transparency:

We’ve said for years here at the Fool that investing in the stock market is the best way to build individual wealth. I would not deny members of Congress that privilege, just because they choose to pursue public service for the modest sum of $174,000 per year plus pensions in perpetuity. But even the STOCK Act doesn’t go far enough. Although most members of Congress balk at the modest requirement of disclosing their trades once per quarter, that doesn’t come close to what we should demand of them. In my humble, Foolish view, members of Congress should take a page from what we do here at the Fool. Rather than disclose their stock trades once per year, or even once per quarter, after the fact, they should do what our real-money portfolio services do: Announce their intent to trade beforehand. Make it public.

Currently, Mr. Smith is 512 signatures away from hitting his petition goal of 5,000 signatures. To follow the progress of his STOCK Act petition drive, go here.