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Sens. Leahy, Grassley push to repair the STOCK Act

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Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) called for Congress to convene a conference committee to restore two amendments to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.

“These are two of the most important and substantive provisions in the bill,” they said. “Without them the legislation would be significantly weakened.”

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In a rare showing of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 93 to 3 to approve the STOCK Act. However, when the bill was introduced to the House by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), it did not include amendments that would close loopholes in the nation’s anti-corruption laws and require political intelligence agents to register as lobbyists.

The STOCK Act passed the House with a 417 to 2 vote in February.

“The Senate passed both of these amendments with strong, bipartisan support,” Leahy and Grassley said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“Unfortunately, the House stripped both provisions from the STOCK Act without a vote. The Senate should act to ensure that the key improvements it made to this bill are incorporated into the final legislation that Congress passes.

“We urge you to take the STOCK Act to a conference committee to resolve the differences between the Senate and House bills and to encourage the conference to restore these two key provisions.”

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If the Senate takes up the House version of the bill rather than convening a conference committee, Leahy and Grassley urged the Senate leaders to allow them to re-introduce the amendments.

The STOCK Act prohibits lawmakers and their staff from trading stocks based on information they learn during congressional briefings and related work, among others things. It 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.


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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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