The House voted 417-2 this morning to pass the STOCK Act, which clarifies that laws against insider trading apply to members of Congress, congressional staff, executive branch officials, and judicial officers and employees.
One of the two votes against it was John Campbell, R-Irvine. I asked why, and here’s the statement his office sent:
“True insider trading is already illegal and those of us in Congress have and will continue to be subject to the law. This is an ambiguous bill that could potentially and unintentionally cause constituents and members of Congress to break the law by simply asking or answering a question about the prospects of federal legislation. It pretends to make something illegal that is already illegal and then compounds the problem by overreaching and creating unintended, yet very damaging consequences. I have serious concerns about the effects it will have on a constituent’s ability to interact with their representatives in Congress.”
Democrats supported the bill despite House Republicans having stripped out provisions including a requirement that people who collect financial information from Congress — and sell it to investment firms — should register like lobbyists and publicly disclose their activities, and a section that would’ve restored some elements of federal corruption law that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected last year. (The Washington Post has the full report on that here.)
The bill’s U.S. Senate version had both those provisions and was approved last week on a 96-3 vote. The House and Senate versions must now be reconciled in a House-Senate conference committee.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, spoke on the floor this morning to urge her fellow Democrats to pass the bill, but she also had some choice words for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who fast-tracked the bill in a way that let him to strip out the Senate provisions but allow no amendments.