The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 22, 2012
Congress passes insider trading ban, but is it tough enough?

It's amazing how a little shame can go a long way.

For years, Congress ignored calls to put itself under the same insider trading rules as the rest of us. But after a "60 Minutes" report in November unleashed a tidal wave of criticism, bills started moving.

And on Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved and sent to President Barack Obama a measure that would ban members of Congress, along with other government officials, from trading stocks and other securities based on confidential information they learn from private briefings and other venues. The STOCK Act would also require them to disclose their trades.

But this being Washington, the House version of the bill headed toward becoming law isn't as strong as it could or should be.

As The Bee editorial board pointed out last month, the original Senate version is much stronger and preferable. It would make it easier for federal prosecutors to go after public corruption. It also included a provision that would force "political intelligence consultants" -- people who gather information of interest to hedge funds and other investors -- to register like other lobbyists.

On Tuesday, however, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he lacked the votes to push those changes.

And this being Washington, Democrats blamed Republicans for the weaker law.

"Despite this victory, we know more must be done to change the ways of Washington," top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said in a statement "House Republicans had the opportunity to take up the original, stronger, bipartisan Senate proposal, but refused to bring it up for a vote. Now, we must work to strengthen this legislation and uphold the confidence of the American people."

So while this legislation is better than the status quo, it would let a lot of nefarious activity continue on Capitol Hill. And it would all be legal.

Enhanced by Zemanta

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter