Congress stops stalling on Stock Act

Earlier this month, both chambers of Congress passed versions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (Stock) Act, banning insider trading for members of Congress and their staffs. The bill had been introduced in various forms since 2006, but it wasn't until a "60 Minutes" investigation that it was able to gain any traction. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama even said, "Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress, and I will sign it tomorrow.”

Two months after the news story, it was passed despite dying multiple times in committee previously. Of course, it begs the question, why did it take so long? For an action that clearly is illegal for anyone else, why did it take so long for Congress to pass something bringing them under the same standards as the constituents they represent?

One of the big questions involved deals with "political intelligence" groups. These groups allegedly meet with Congressmen to gain insight into how legislation may affect private companies and then sell that information to hedge funds. Supposedly it is a $402 million industry that is completely unregulated.

Jon Stewart looked into the issue some in his Feb. 15 show. Check out what he has to say below and then leave a comment telling us your thoughts. Should Congress be held to different standards? How should "political intelligence" be handled?

About the Author
Michael McFarlin

Michael McFarlin joined Futures in 2010 after graduating summa cum laude from Trinity International University, where he majored in English/Communication. With the launch of the new web platform, Michael serves as web editor for the site and will continue to work on the magazine, where he focuses on the Markets and Trading 101 features. He also served as a member of the Wisconsin National Guard from 2007 to 2010.

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