Insider Trading For Me, But Not For Thee

We all know Governor Palin has spent more than two decades fighting crony capitalism and corruption.  From her days as a young member on the Wasilla city council, to a  mayor, oil and gas regulator, Governor, and beyond, she has fought to shine a light on those in power who use their positions for financial gain and who impose one set of rules on the people while they live by another.

Peter Schweizer, who spent some time working for Governor Palin, has been at the forefront of this issue.  He wrote a book entitled Throw Them All Out, which inspired 60 Minutes to do an extensive piece on what amounted to insider trading inside the United States Congress.  After seeing the piece and receiving much public outcry, Congress decided to act on this by passing the STOCK Act.   That was a little more than a year ago.

Well, it seems as if the politicos on DC feel the public has forgotten about this and they can go back to their old ways, since they pretty much decided to gut the bill.  This was all shoved through in record time, and without any transparency, of course.  This is one issue where people on the left and right can come together, as a left-wing website, politicsusa, has a pretty good write-up on this.  From the piece:

What could make the House pass something in 30 seconds that the Senate also passed? What would motivate them to put aside their alleged “differences” and act in the best interest of the people? The answer is when they are not acting in the best interest of the people, but rather, in their own best interests.

To that end, late last week, your congress quickly approved a measure that modified (aka, killed) a part of the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act ), which was only enacted a year ago. The STOCK Act was supposed to address shady stock trades based on insider information.

The bill went from introduction to signing by POTUS very quickly:

4/11/2013 Introduced in Senate
4/11/2013 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Introduced in the Senate, read twice, considered, read the third time, and passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent.
4/12/2013 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed without objection.
4/12/2013 Presented to President.

On Tuesday the 15th, the President signed the legislation.

Defenders of the modifications claim it’s being done in the name of “security,” but many are pointing out what it is really doing it making the original bill entirely useless and makes it impossible to find disclosures:

The sweeping exemption goes even farther than critics of the disclosure requirements requested. For those to whom online disclosure would still apply (the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation) the Senate bill made electronic filing of the information optional and struck the requirement that online information be searchable, sortable and downloadable, making even the disclosures that remain in the bill tepid and relatively unusable.

Not only does the change undermine the intent of the original bill to ensure government insiders are not profiting from non-public information (if anyone thinks high level congressional staffers don’t have as much or more insider information than their bosses, they should spend some time on Capitol Hill) but it sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent suggesting that any risks stem not from information being public but from public information being online.

This gives even greater claim to Governor Palin’s point that DC is a cesspool, but after people are there for about five minutes, they start thinking it’s a hot tub.  More reason to throw them all out.  Read the entire piece here.  Again, this is not an issue of right or left.  This is an issue where those of  us on the right and those on the left can agree we need to hold our leaders accountable and force them to live by the rules they expect us to live by.


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