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Thousands Call Upon Congress to Include ‘Political Intelligence’ Provision in STOCK Act

Public Citizen Delivers Petition Signed by 46,000 People to Reid, Boehner

WASHINGTON - More than 46,000 people called on Congress in a petition delivered today to reinstate the transparency requirement for political intelligence activities in the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” (STOCK) Act, and to send a strong STOCK Act to President Barack Obama for his signature. Public Citizen delivered the petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Political intelligence is a lucrative and shadowy industry, with some 2,000 lobbyists and Wall Street operatives raking in anywhere up to $400 million in business annually. The political intelligence provision of the STOCK Act would not ban mining public information from congressional sources for investment purposes, but its disclosure requirements would facilitate enforcement against illegal trading on non-public information.

“When Wall Street learned of this provision, it mounted a full-scale lobbying campaign to strip it from the bill,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen. “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, long indebted to Wall Street for campaign cash, did exactly that.”

The Senate on Feb. 2 approved a comprehensive STOCK Act, complete with the critical political intelligence transparency provision. The House was on track to do the same, until Cantor intervened and substituted a watered-down version. Cantor introduced his substitute measure under rules that prohibited amendments, forcing the House to accept his weakened bill or none at all. The different Senate and House versions now must be reconciled.

“President Obama is waiting to sign a strong STOCK Act, complete with a disclosure requirement for the political intelligence industry,” said Lisa Gilbert, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “The public expects and deserves no less."

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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