Boston Globe Calls for Ban on Congressional Insider Trading

The Boston Globe has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for a ban on congressional insider trading.

From the Boston Globe:

WHEN CONGRESS returns to Washington after New Year’s, a bipartisan proposal to ban insider trading by lawmakers should be one of the first items on its agenda. The bill enjoyed a brief spurt of momentum last month after a book accused legislators of using information gleaned from government service to make profits on Wall Street. But the legislation, whose sponsors include Senator Scott Brown, has since stalled amid opposition from some House Republicans. Passing it quickly in the new year would be a important step toward restoring public confidence.

The Globe credited Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer’s book, Throw Them All Out, as the catalyst for the reform movement.

However, in a show of possible hometown favoritism, the article criticized Schweizer’s revelations involving Sen. John Kerry’s millions of dollars of curiously timed trades as being “far less compelling.”

The accusations of insider trading leveled against Senator John F. Kerry, however, seem far less compelling. According to Schweizer, a trust belonging to Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, traded medical company stocks affected by legislation that the senator was working on. In 2007, for instance, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s trusts sold between $500,000 and $1 million worth of Amgen stock a week before the government publicly announced it would limit the amount Medicare reimbursed patients for taking a drug made by the company. But those trades were arranged by independent trustees, not Kerry.

The Globe’s position on Sen. Kerry’s investments still leaves the door open for a sort of double-standard not applied to CEOs and corporate executives who make expertly-timed trades that trigger investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), whether those trades were made by so-called “independent trustees” or not.

Still, the Boston Globe believes that the Congress must take swift and decisive action in 2012 to end the appearance of, or potential for, members of Congress to use material, nonpublic information when investing:

The proposal ought to be a no-brainer. To restore public trust, it’s important that Congress swiftly tighten the rules to ensure that lawmakers are serving the public interest – not their own.

Voters will have to wait until 2012 to see whether Congress does, indeed, pass the “no-brainer” legislation to ban a practice most Americans believe should have never been legal in the first place.

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