Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), under pressure from conservatives, liberals, and his own constituents, has announced that the House Financial Services Committee, which he chairs, will hold hearings on Dec. 6 to consider legislation to prevent insider trading by members of Congress.
Both the House and the Senate are now planning hearings on congressional insider trading, following exposés by Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer in his new book, Throw Them All Out.
In a lovely bit of irony, Rep. Barney Frank–he who rejected 18 requests by George W. Bush to tighten up standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–wrote a letter to Rep. Bachus, encouraging him to craft legislation against Congressional insider trading practices:
I am still not sure that this is widespread, but given the attention that we have seen on this matter now, and given the importance of those whom we represent being fully assured that we are behaving appropriately, I think that we should now take up this legislation and, after suitable study, enact some version of it.
And now, Congressman Bachus has agreed to a hearing.
Initial reluctance by some media outlets to take on this controversial issue is now yielding in the face of public outrage.
From The Hill:
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) announced Thursday that his panel would be considering legislation to prohibit lawmakers from investing based on private information.
The chairman announced the Dec. 6 hearing one day after ranking member Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), sent a letter to Bachus, calling on the committee to consider such legislation and eventually pass it. The announcement also comes after Bachus has come under scrutiny for allegations that he profited on investments made based on private information.
“Existing law clearly prohibits insider trading by members of Congress. However, the American public deserves for there to be no question or equivocation concerning members of Congress or any citizen being exempted from laws prohibiting insider trading,” Bachus said in a statement.
Frank told Bachus in his letter that he had “neglected” similar legislation when he was chairman of the committee, but that recent attention to the matter meant the bill should be considered and passed.
The panel will consider a bill, introduced by Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), which would prohibit members and White House employees from investing based on private information, or from passing that information along to others for investment purposes.
Read the rest of the story here.