Today President Obama signed the STOCK Act, a bill meant to curb potential insider trading of stocks by members of Congress.
The act bans campaign bundlers from acting as registered lobbyists and makes it illegal for lawmakers to own stocks that could be affected by legislative votes. President Obama had pressed for passage of the STOCK Act in his 2012 State of the Union address but acknowledged at today’s signing that more remains. “There is obviously more that we can do to close the deficit of trust,” said the president at the bill-signing.
It’s a good step, even if it is a small one.
The bill doesn’t ban insider trading by the so-called “political intelligence operatives” who skulk around the halls of Congress for information to use is stock trading, nor does it require these people disclose their clients and activities.
Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for the non-partisan good government group Public Citizen has been pushing for Congress to take up the STOCK Act since 2006 and was there for the signing. He offered this reaction. “This is a good bill — the most significant ethics achievement of the 112th Congress. But it could and should be stronger, and legislation is pending to strengthen it. Wall Street didn’t want this, and Congress passed it only because they were shamed into it. Still, it is a good step.”
Notably the President did not mention the DISCLOSE Act which is under consideration in committee and which would shine some desperately needed light on campaign spending, nor did he call for any other fixes for the disaster of Citizens United. But it’s a start, and it’s a win and with a general election around the corner we’ll take what we can.
Photo from David Paul Ohmer via flickr.