By: Jonathan Allen
The Blue Dogs are adding their bark to a chorus of congressional voices calling for quick action on legislation aimed at tightening laws that prohibit lawmakers and their aides from using inside information to make financial trades.
“Members of Congress, their staff and other federal employees who use special, nonpublic information to make a profit are in complete violation of the public’s trust,” they wrote in a letter to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “This type of insider trading is unacceptable and it should be illegal.”
Cantor, who helped put the kibosh on a planned committee markup late last year, plans to bring a version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act to the House floor later this month. While the current bill, written by Reps. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), covers federal employees, Cantor has said he wants to make sure that any enhanced regulations are applied to all executive branch workers.
Most of the Blue Dogs are among the 271 House members who have signed on to the measure, and the group decided Tuesday night to make a collective endorsement.
“As Members of Congress we are in the business of public service, not personal profit. We are called to do what is right and to serve the American people. When a few betray that trust, the entire country suffers,” the Blue Dogs wrote. “Congress must now work to restore the American people’s faith in our government. Swift passage of this bipartisan STOCK Act is one way we, as an institution, can confirm our commitment to our constituents and our country.”
Cantor said Tuesday that he’s waiting to see what the Senate does with its version of the measure before moving forward.
“[I]f the Senate produces a bill that we believe is strengthened and something that is workable, that certainly will be something well received by the House,” Cantor said. “If it does not, it is my intention to move a bill — to bring a bill to the floor in February — that does accomplish the goal of ensuring the public that they have can have confidence that their elected representatives and their voices in Washington are not using their positions to personally profit.”