In a recent op-ed by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), the freshman congressman said that while efforts such as the STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act designed to stop members of Congress were commendable, ultimately, they will not work as intended.
Writing in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, Rep. Duffy said:
A few months ago, Breitbart News editor and author Peter Schweizer published a book titled Throw Them All Out which suggested that members of Congress were using their influence and access in the legislative process to fatten their investment portfolios.
A 60 Minutes piece followed which brought the issue to national attention and rightly caused Americans to wonder: “Is my representative using the power I’ve entrusted in him for personal gains in the stock market?”
As one of the 87 freshman legislators sent to Washington to clean up the mess, I think we owe it to the American people to do just that: clean up the mess. And that includes the reputation and perception that members of Congress operate above the law. Congress ought to hold itself to a higher standard.
Rep. Duffy says that while he personally has not seen any of his congressional colleagues engage in insider trading, he considers it the better part of reason to remove the possibility for the practice to occur. To accomplish that, writes Rep. Duffy, Congress must pass the bill he recently introduced, the RESTRICT (Restoring Ethical Standards, Transparency and Responsibility in Congressional Trading) Act:
The RESTRICT Act is the only way to stop any real or perceived insider trading by members of Congress.
Other members of Congress have introduced similar pieces of legislation such as the STOCK Act, which requires members to disclose $1,000 trades within 90 days. While I commend their efforts, the truth is that the STOCK Act doesn’t go far enough and, frankly, has loopholes you can drive a truck through. For example, under the STOCK Act, a member of Congress could trade a total of $50,000 in one day by making 50 trades at $950 per trade and never trigger the reporting requirement.
In contrast, the RESTRICT Act is simple and straightforward — a refreshing change for a Congress accustomed to huge bills with carve-outs and loopholes to avoid the very practice the bill was intended to prevent.
Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer, who is widely regarded as the individual most responsible for spearheading the congressional insider trading reform movement, says he believes the RESTRICT Act is a superior solution to the problem and that he prefers it over the STOCK Act. About the RESTRICT Act, Mr. Schweizer says:
The RESTRICT Act is by far the best way to start addressing the problems of insider trading in Congress. It provides a simple transparent and direct approach that will help the American people hold their elected leaders more accountable
According to Rep. Duffy, the RESTRICT Act will begin restoring much-needed transparency and accountability among members of Congress.
It’s time Congress led with the transparency and accountability worthy of our office. In an age of dysfunctional government and growing public cynicism, the RESTRICT Act is one of those rare bills that can help restore confidence in government and unite commonsense Americans on both sides of the aisle. What citizen doesn’t want to limit corruption and make sure Congress is working in the best interest of the people who elected them?
Let’s work together to restore high ethical standards in Congress — please share this column with your friends today. Help me spread the word about how we can “go all the way” to end Congressional insider trading by passing the RESTRICT Act.
With Congress resuming this week, House members are expected to quickly take up debate on STOCK Act and Rep. Duffy’s RESTRICT Act.