The Senate has passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, 96-3. The bill makes it illegal for Congress members, their staffs and also many executive-branch workers to indulge in stock trading and trading in other securities based on inside information that they gather while doing their jobs.
The bill, originally intended for public officials only, was expanded to include executive-branch employees after Republicans put pressure and said that high-level governmental appointees and bureaucrats should be held to the same standard.
This was the result of an amendment introduced by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), because of which an expected 28,000 senior level government employees will also come under the proposed law. But Sen. Lieberman (I- Connecticut), who sponsored the bill, says that it could end up bringing up to 300,000 government employees under its purview, including “secretaries and drivers”.
The bill says that insider trading is criminal and requires public disclosure of any such trade within 30 days of it taking place. President Obama congratulated the Senate for passing the bill and urged the House of Representative to pass it too, so that he could sign it as soon as possible.
Several amendments and earmarks were proposed. One of the amendments, proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), was that there would be no bonuses for executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The amendment was accepted.
Two of the several other amendments that were proposed and rejected were by Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Jim DeMint. Coburn wanted to eliminate government programs which did duplicate work and the one offered by DeMint proposed term limits for senators.
The three senators who voted against the bill are:
Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)
Richard Burr (R-North Carolina)
Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)
Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) abstained from voting on the bill.