For Immediate Release

CREW Luke Warm on STOCK Act

WASHINGTON - In response to President Obama signing the STOCK Act, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan issued the following statement:

CREW applauds President Obama for pushing Congress to move on an issue that so clearly resonated with the public and for quickly signing the bill into law.  Nevertheless, the version of the STOCK Act signed today is only a shadow of the strong bill initially passed by the Senate.  

Most significantly, the newly enacted law requires members of Congress to report their stock trades, allowing them to be compared with congressional activity.  This increased transparency is likely to deter members from trading on confidential information.

Unfortunately, the House dropped the strongest provisions from the Senate-passed bill, which would have strengthened the ability of prosecutors to target public corruption.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s decision to eliminate these important measures is all the more mystifying given that the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved them last year.  The House also stripped the bill of the requirement that those engaged in collecting political intelligence register as lobbyists do. 

Rather than merely accepting the weaker House version, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could have insisted the bill proceed to conference; disappointingly, he did not.  Instead, he accepted the House’s pallid substitute. 

Now members of Congress will go home and claim credit for passing a tough new ethics bill.   The likelihood this legislation will result in a member of Congress being prosecuted for insider trading?  Minimal.  The likelihood negative campaign ads have been averted?  High.

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.

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