CNN is reporting that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) office wrote a loophole into the House version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) exempting Congress members’ spouses and children from having to report stock market transactions over $1,000 in a timely manner.
The Senate version of the bill requires these transactions be reported within 45 days by both its members and their families. But a memo from the Office of Government Ethics, which oversees all federal executive branch employees, used the House version, telling them spouses and children were not subject to the rule.
Neither of the bill’s Senate co-sponsors, Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), knew about the discrepancy.
“I mean, bottom line, we’re supposed to have that level of transparency and have us be treated like every other member of the United States,” Brown told CNN’s Dana Bash. “Bottom line, if we can’t do it, then — sorry, if they can’t do it — then we shouldn’t be able to do it as well.”
The law, which bars members of Congress from trading stocks based on information they get for work purposes and requires them to register any stock transactions over $1,000 within 45 days, was signed into effect in April, and was praised at the time for being a bipartisan effort.
But Cantor had drawn criticism for introducing a House version of the bill that stripped provisions requiring political intelligence consultants to register as lobbyists and stripping pension benefits from members found to be corrupt.
A spokesperson for Cantor’s office confirmed it made the changes to the bill, but would now seek ways to remedy the situation.
“It was not the intention of the House to differ with the Senate-passed bill with respect to application to spouses and dependent children. We did not believe at the time that we had differed from what the Senate had done,” spokesman Doug Heye said. “Since new information has been brought to our attention with respect to this discrepancy, we are reviewing our options regarding transaction reports in the House of Representatives.”
Watch Dana Dash’s report on CNN, aired July 19, below: