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Your Take: Congressional Insider Trading

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They say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. For years, I’d read about how members of Congress were exempt from your typical insider trading rules. If a company insider were to make trades on private insider information, and they were caught, there would be serious consequences. They’d have to pay restitution and, most likely, receive probation or jail time. If they were a member of Congress, well, nothing would happen to them. I’d always been perplexed by this but, in the past, no one had done anything particularly egregious with that “get out of jail free” card.

Then 60 Minutes put it center stage. Last Sunday, they aired a piece about members of Congress profiting from private information and how that was completely legal.

Here’s the funny part… we’ve known about this for years. I certainly heard about this many years ago but it’s one of those things where members of Congress know that it would be extremely embarrassing if they traded on insider information and they were caught. Considering how much money they can make by taking on new roles after office, like becoming lobbyists, it seems silly to make just a few bucks while you’re in office and put that in jeopardy. That was always my thinking anyway.

Anyway, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts filed a bill in Congress that would remove that exemption. I think it’s a good idea, what do you think?

{ 15 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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15 Responses to “Your Take: Congressional Insider Trading”

  1. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to government corruption and probably one of the less egregious, though more easily understood, examples. Taxpayer money is being doled out all over the place in exchange for political favors and campaign donations at federal, state and local levels all across the country. The only cure is to take play money out of the hands of politicians and reduce their ability to come with stupid regulations that benefit their cronies.

  2. Shirley says:

    Any law that affects the American people should also affect members of their government.

  3. Bart says:

    I agree with Shirley 100%. Anyone in government who is paid from taxpayer funds should be required to play by the same rules as the rest of us. Additionally, they also need to have the same 401(k), pension, healthcare, etc.

  4. mannymacho says:

    I’d go even further than that. When directors of the Fed are called, they are required to blind-trust all of their investments. The same should be done with members of congress – then it’s not a temptation, and they can actually focus on their jobs.

  5. freeby50 says:

    Of course congress shouldn’t be exempt on this.

    I’m baffled how this came to be in the first place. I wonder what logic was used to justify doing this to begin with?

  6. Debra says:

    I agree with all of the above. It’s an outrage that these thieving scumbags should be exempt from ANY of the rules they impose on the rest of us. I was NOT aware that the laws against insider trading do not apply to those who create them and was stunned and infuriated by the 60 Minutes story. These perks and exemptions are exactly why individuals interested only in feathering their own nests are attracted to the jobs of governing. They demonstrate daily that they couldn’t care less what becomes of this country as long as they go home rich. Our government needs to be redesigned from the ground up! The outrage that spawns protests and violence is unavoidable as long as such unfairness pervaids our system. How about if we all refuse to vote until our lawmakers are placed on an equal footing with the rest of the American public? Then we can trust that anyone who wants the job of governing is in it for the welfare of the country.

  7. Mike says:

    This is BS. The Kings & Queens in Congress will always find a reason to make ordinary citizens hate them.

  8. Mike says:

    Yes! Just read the Scott Brown part. I knew the guy was a decent guy when I voted for him recently. He’s doing the citizens of MA proud.

  9. Lesley says:

    I think it’s a great idea! Thanks for the post. Love your thinking.

  10. Chewbakka says:

    Totally agree with Mike and Shirley. Unfortunately, in today’s times, gov’t positions can only attract thieving scumbags types. Righteous folks by default are shunned away from the limelight because they know better than to put themselves in harms way; media, opposition party tactics, and other low moves. Love to see those referendums carried out to evict those that are “not for the people”.

    • Frugal says:

      while I agree with you, I have only question.

      If we all understand this and agree that govt jobs are to be filled with scumbags (another words, we don’t want to take any action but just talk/blog), why are we expecting any change?

      We, as a whole, have to do this together, otherwise there will be no point to the discussion.

  11. Chewbakka says:

    In speaking of corrupt governments around the world, we seem to be no better. Just look inward at our own country! Is that what a world leader government looks like?

  12. cdiver says:

    politics is becoming too complicated…you can no longer simply make bribes but must submit sealed bids.

  13. John says:

    I think the bill is absolutely at the center of any chance we have of cleaning up Washington, and for any decent work being accomplished there. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. The fact that Congress is benefiting individually by insider training explains fully the reson why there is a stailmate in Washington. It is at the root of corruption there. This issue alone is perhaps the greatest issue affecting this great nation. I say lets not stop there, but institute a National Term Limit of two terms of equal lengths from each state. Also, while we are at lets take away the Congressional retirement given when one serves. To do this and still have anyone interested in serving we would need to up the pay closer to resembling that of a CFO, or CEO.

  14. timparker says:

    If you’re a TV personality on CNBC, you’re not allowed to personally own any stocks. If you’re an analyst, you have to disclose if you own any of the positions you’re following. I manage money for people, my wife works for a publicly traded company, my father is on the board of directors for a publicly traded company and he’s the CFO of another. I would never touch shares of any of those companies although I have no access to material information and my wife’s company doesn’t allow anybody in her family to own personal stock unless it is issued directly to her by the company. Why doesn’t Congress have the same rules? I’ve wondered that for years!


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