In a rare showing of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 93 to 3 on Thursday to approve the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, legislation that prohibits lawmakers and their staff from trading stocks based on information they learn during congressional briefings and related work.
Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) voted against the bill.
“Bottom line, members of Congress have to live by the same laws everyone else,” said Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who proposed the STOCK Act. “With approval ratings of Congress at an all-time low, this bill represents an opportunity to build some trust with the American people.”
“The truth is, members of Congress have access to all kinds of sensitive information, and it has to be clear that the information is being used to serve our country – not to make a personal profit.”
The legislation directly corrects the ambiguity in existing laws by empowering the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to ensure that members of Congress and their staff can be held accountable for illegally trading on non-public information.
“We are entrusted with a profound responsibility by the American people to look out for their best interests, and nothing else, certainly not our own financial interests,” Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) said.
“Today, we took the first step toward restoring the trust that’s been lost in Washington by ensuring that members of Congress play by the exact same rules as everyday Americans.”