Insider trading bill may scrutinize Obama administration
February 1st, 2012
02:16 PM ET

Insider trading bill may scrutinize Obama administration

Washington (CNN) - The president will not oppose a Republican-proposed change to the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge), a senior administration official tells CNN. The bill would make clear that insider trading of stocks and other securities by members of Congress, their spouses and staffs are illegal.

Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are pushing for the bill to apply to the executive branch as well.

"Insider trading by members of Congress is unacceptable, and the public needs to know that the same rules apply to elected officials as everyone else," Cantor said Monday after the STOCK Act cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate with a vote of 93 to 2.

The senior administration official voiced skepticism that Cantor's backing is anything but cover for his putting the brakes on the bill in December, arguing that the executive branch is already covered by current law to prevent insider trading by government officials.

House Financial Services Committee chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who was featured in a CBS News 60 Minutes segment about stock trading by members of Congress, acted to move the bill quickly through his committee in December but Cantor asked him to postpone the process known as a mark-up, according to multiple sources, citing bipartisan concerns about the bill.

As the White House questions the need for including oversight of the executive branch in the STOCK Act, the top Democrat in the Senate thinks the change should be made. "I also think it's important that the executive branch of government play by the same rules so what we do here the executive branch of government should do also," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Tuesday, echoing what Republicans are saying.

"Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow," President Obama, who has made a practice in recent months of taking shots at congress, said last week in his State of the Union address. "Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact."

While Republicans and Democrats agree the executive branch should also be scrutinized, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested the likelihood of wrongdoing was greater among administration officials than members of Congress.

"Most of our members believe that if there is any insider trading going on in the government, most likely that would be in the executive branch and we want to make sure that this new law applies equally to both," McConnell said Tuesday.


Topics: Congress • President Obama • The News

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Phil in KC

    Why should he oppose it? Unlike the Republicans, he's not going to block a good piece of legislation just because it comes from the other side of the aisle.

    February 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • insight iowa

      I agree.... someone has to be the adult. Obama has always been for ALL AMERICANS. He said that in his speech back in 2008 "It's not about the Red States, it's not about the Blue States, It's about the United States of America". People keep forgetting how serious he was about making Washington "transparent" to the people. Boy what a very UGLY picture we have received this past year. Republican voting straight Dem ticket 2012.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
      • Talon

        Really transparent? He said he was going to do that but he hasn't? The health care bill was transparent...crafted overnite by Reid and Pelosi behind closed doors and forced to vote on it the next day when it was 2500+ pages....yea transparent. Democrats have been in control of the Senate for how long and no budget? The Republican House has passed a budget but the Senate won't take it up.....I'm not saying Republican's are perfect but it's laughable to see how Obama supporters won't admit when their President messed up....nope it's always the Republicans...

        February 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • A. Goodwin

        Talon – The healthcare bill was debated over MONTHS. How many versions of the bill did we ALL get to read? The final bill was made available with plenty of time to review it, but your party seems as if they had no time at all. And dont even give me that line about Pelosi...again, how many versions of the bill did they have first? Give it up.

        February 2, 2012 at 10:43 am |
      • Really?

        Are you serious Talon? You believe that the healthcare was drafted over night? So....... the public option and "death panels" in the news media was all in my imagination? Or maybe you stuck your head in the ground during that time. This just shows that you are so completely bias and you just hate the current President for no apparent reason. Please, articulate yourself before you speak your mind.

        February 2, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • C-Lo

      He doesn't need to...that's what he has Reid for, to table them in the Senate.

      February 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • rj

      what planet are you living on ?

      February 2, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  2. Mark

    What I see here is a cheap shot at deflection. "If I have to abide by the rule, so do you!!!!" Typically that is the mark of someone who is guilty assuming everyone is equally as guilty. I don't see why Obama wouldn't allow it, to be honest.

    February 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • jean2009

      What they are actually saying is. Let us hoodwink the general population into thinking the Executive Branch is not covered under any insider trading law....so we can phony-up this bill and then have a reason to rescind it after the election. They also didn't point out that while speaking of the Executive Branch there was no clarification that President's and Vice President's for years have been required to put their personal trading in the hands of a managed blind trust while in office.

      Anyone surprised...this is just the normal GOP tricks.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
      • Pretender jean2009

        LOL you seem to think you know alot, but in realility you know very little on this subject, it's kind of sad really, it's even worse to know or believe the wrong information than not knowing anything at all.

        February 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • Dejavu39

        Google Did Eric Cantor bet against Treasury Bonds..... interesting comment board comes up...-just a suggestion

        February 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Patrick

        Google John Boehner XL pipeline stocks. Apparently Mr Speaker owns stock in 7 different xl pipeline companies.... no wonder the GOP is pushing so hard for those 400-600 permanent jobs.

        February 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
      • Really?

        Pretender, why wont you enlighten us with your extensive knowledge on this subject. Just stating that "you don't know anything" and not backing up that statement does not make you an expert on the subject.

        February 2, 2012 at 11:18 am |
      • jean2009

        @Pretender it is obvious I know more about the subject than you.
        The Senate just passed the bill....it is going to the House and the President has said he will sign it.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/us/politics/democratic-senators-to-push-buffett-rule.html

        February 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  3. Scott

    "Most of our members believe that if there is any insider trading going on in the government, most likely that would be in the executive branch and we want to make sure that this new law applies equally to both," ....Oh come on, McConnell!!!! Everyone knows Congress is responsible for writting legistaltion. Quit trying to score a cheap political point and pass the damn thing already!

    February 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • DaveinSC

      It's what McConnell does. This hack needs to go.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  4. bearced

    Looks like another stall tactic by Mconnel and Cantor, they need a few million$ more before they can stop trading.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  5. FedUp

    I thought laws were already in place to stop insider trading. Whoops! That was for everyone else. Politicians have their own laws that they continually break.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  6. biggeorge

    This is WAY over due!!!! Good for the President. Although it kills me to say it, good for the Republican's that showed some common sense and are getting something done for a change. Keep it up! That's what you were elected to do! I think they sense that BHO is going to be around for another 4 years.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  7. Gee

    Pretty tired of Libtards using the phrase "somebody has to be the adult" blocking bad legislation and government over-reach by the Obummer administration has nothing to do with being an adult. The phrase only still means something to the libtards that are still drunk on the coolaide and have to continue to prop up this loser of a president.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Jonathan Davis

      What an incredibly adult response!

      February 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
      • Terry

        but it's a true remark.

        February 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Eduardo

      Huh?

      February 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • DaveinSC

      Sit down, have a cup of tea, and think before you write.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • jean2009

      Read my post below....and yes Obama is the adult in the room. Each President and Vice President place their own personal funds in a blind trust which they do not manage when they take office. Members of the Executive Branch are already covered under insider trading laws. House and Senate members are not covered under insider trading laws....so they should have legislation that covers that, and they should also be required to put their funds in a blind managed trust for as long as they are in office.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • Brandy

        You are right again Jean 2009-If members of Congress had their money in a blind trust maybe they wouldnt have the money for IPO buying.

        February 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • C-Lo

        Wow Jean...I posted below before I saw this. Maybe there is a little common ground :-)

        February 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • joep199

      Wow, Gee, that comment is so incredibly well founded and expertly phrased that I'm just overcome with admiration, and have immediately made you my idol when it comes to clear thinking!

      February 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
      • Yogesh

        So, really, only two slspibioities exist: 1. BHO Sr. (a foreign national) is the father of BHO II which means, at best, we do not know IF Obama is legally/constitutionally the President of the US. . .b/c ONLY a NBC can be President. . .ergo the nation is currently in a serious Constitutional Crisis. Why? The obvious: If BHO Sr. is BHO II's father than the President of the United States was BORN a US Citizen AND a British Citizen/subject. Well, we know that the Founding Fathers did NOT consider themselves to be NBCs b/c they were born British citizens/subjects. The definition of NBC per Article II cannot be changed or decided merely by challenging it and violating it. . .which IS exactly what occurred in 2008 IF BHO Sr. (a foreign national) is the father of the President Obama. 2. BHO II's father is NOT BHO Sr. but someone else who is/was a US citizen. Okay, now we do NOT have an ACTUAL Constitutional crisis . .but we do have a big problem: (a) it APPEARS that the son of a foreign national with dual legal allegiance to the US and a foreign nation (or nations) is sitting in the WH. In addition, the HISTORICAL record and history books about the biography of a US President is a LIE the very IDENTITY of a US President is a lie in the history books. . .and children's books about President Obama's life. Why didn't anyone just tell Obama: sorry buddy, we've got a serious national financial crisis, we're engaged in 2 wars, you really have NO experience handling any of the serious issues facing the nation . . .you're young/too green. . .and you have either a serious background/citizenship issue that we don't have time to deal with right now AND/OR your origins are simply too sorted and embarrassing and we just cannot have a POTUS, right now, who cannot disclose who his parents are. The NATION doesn't need this unnecessary problem.

        March 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bob

      Someone has to be the ADULT around here, look at the childish tripe you typed up, youngster.

      Liberals are always having to clean up after the messes Contards leave behind like whiny 2 year olds.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
      • C-Lo

        "Contards?" Well I guess that shows us one who is not going to be responsible for any "cleaning up." Thank you for the revealing insight.

        February 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  8. Sumflow

    Members should be required to disclose major transactions in the same time as it is for everybody else and make this information available online for their constituents. Business people have a two day limit to file transactions, but most corporates file in one day. When a double standard on reporting time exists, it looks like congress is trying to cover something up.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  9. Steveo

    Only Congress needs a law that reminds them that insider trading is already illegal! Yet these are our Public servants?

    February 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  10. Tom

    Simple. Executives (insiders) of corporations can only trade their own company's stocks at specified times. Like AFTER earnings have been reported. Apply the same rules to the federal workforce. They want to buy/sell a stock, they can only do it during the same time as the insiders for that company. What, they do not have time to figure out when each company can be traded? Easy to fix. Their BROKERS can tell them when they call about making a transaction.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Brandy

      thats exactly what happened in 2007-2008.

      February 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • C-Lo

      Close Tom. But instead of linking it to the business insider trading rules, it should be on gov't insider trading. They cannot trade on a company who's business/industry is directly tied to pending legislation.

      And better yet, they cannot have ANY trading authority while holding office–it all has to be held in a blind trust like Romney had (of course without the swiss bank accounts attached!)

      February 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • joep199

      The only problem is that members of Congress (and their staffs) have access to information regarding pending legislation that may have effects that happen at times very different than when earnings are reported.

      February 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  11. Stephen in VA

    "'Most of our members believe that if there is any insider trading going on in the government, most likely that would be in the executive branch and we want to make sure that this new law applies equally to both,' McConnell said Tuesday." – Geez, man, do you guys EVER stop with the deflection and just take responsibility for what you do, yourselves? Reminds me of a bunch of junior high school kids.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  12. Neil IL

    I missed the part where this bill scrutinizes the president. But ok.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • DaveinSC

      Guess you didn't read it then.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  13. Willie Floyd

    GEE-very intelligent-NOT.
    Everytime I see or hear McConnell I dislike him more! While they're at it throw in Supreme Court Justices too. IMO they need term limits just as much as members in congress.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012/WARREN/NEAR FUTURE

    February 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • jean2009

      Since the President and Vice President are already required to place their funds in a managed blind trust while they serve...that should apply to elected members of the House and Senate, and Justices of the Supreme Court. A law that bands insider trading by all appointees to head government agencies that let government contracts would also be a good idea.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  14. jean2009

    The Executive Branch is already covered by insider trading laws.Cantor and McConnell intend to kill the bill they are proposing in December (after the election) on the grounds the executive branch already is covered under previous bills.

    Congress (House & Senate) however are not currently covered under any insider trading bill, but Executive Branch employees are.

    As for the President and Vice President, their funds are stationed in a blind trust for as long as they are in office..so they are not the ones who would be trading stocks.

    Maybe members of the House and Senate should put their money in blind managed trusts while they are in office.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  15. DaveinSC

    McConnell and Cantor really need to look for other jobs. Being in the government really doesn't suit either of them. They'll try to convince voters that making people drink toxic water is somehow good for them. It creates jobs.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  16. jerrylax

    obama's crime is not insider trading...it's misuse of American taxpayer funds". Marxists are not concerned with wealth...until they have all of yours, then it's every rat for themselves.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • jean2009

      @Exlax you wouldn't know truth if it hit you on the head.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • Joey

        Nor would you, as your continued irrelevant rants indicate.

        February 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • jean2009

        @joey Your and exlax's rants are the only ones that seem off topic for the article posted above. Something that neither of you seem to have read.

        February 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  17. jean2009

    Basically the weasels McConnell and Cantor couldn't tell the truth if life depended on it....they need to go.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  18. Brandy

    You are absolutely correct jean 2009. There is a law already on the books that the executive branch can't participate in IPO or stock act aka HR-1148. Its the gmembers of Congress house and senate who are not covered under any bill for IPO buyin. Dont know what McConnell is trying to prove. Why do you think members of Congress leave there richer than when they went in. The bill should also state that members of Congress can not give IPO information to those family, friends, or to earmarks they are all known for.

    February 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  19. CAWinMD

    Why doesn't the media call out McConnell or any other politician when they say something stupid like "Our members think that the people who are doing insider trading are in the executive branch."? McConnell just accused the executive branch of insider tradiing. What proof does he have to offer? What proof does he have to offer that it is more likely in the executive branch than in Congress? What has happened to journalistic standards if you print this kind of garbage without at least forcing the person serving the garbage to justify the statement?

    February 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  20. CoJo

    Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are pushing for the bill to apply to the executive branch as well.
    I don't see the problem. Pass on it, and get it done. What's taken so long? If the president or the senate fails to pass this because of those changes, then I agree, they ought to be fired...

    February 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • jean2009

      According to what I have read, Senator Rand Paul only wants members of Congress to be required once a year simply to affirm they have not broken insider trading laws....in other words he wanted to kill the bill.

      February 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  21. Joey

    Politicians probably shouldn't be allowed to trade at all while in office. It's just one more distraction for them. They need to be concentrating on their job, period. Most already have millions, or will have as soon they leave office. Their pay should be tied to GDP, then we might see some real work getting done.

    February 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  22. kingwassabi

    I'm not a fan of Obama, but he is doing right by supporting this bill.

    Good job Rand Paul. I hope you're our President one day.

    February 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  23. mongopoo

    Another arrow in the campaign quiver for Obama.

    February 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  24. Dan5404

    Most major executive branch office holders are required to have their money handled by other people in a blind trust, with no detailed information given to them. But, everone's OK with the amendment, so why not? McConnell is trying to sniff out a scandal somewhere to help those pitiful candidates, but it works both ways. Keep an eye on McConnell's investment practices.

    February 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  25. george of the jungle

    well it took them long enough to bring it up and try to make it about the president. Obama doesn't care he knew they would do this. Good bill lets listen to the repos cry if it passes.

    February 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • duce

      Georgette, you really need to lay off of the Obama kool-aid. Your one sided, warped view of reality is staggering.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  26. Marxist Commie Socialist

    "Insider Trading may scrutinize the Obama Administration" Hardly an objective headline for this article. The Administration being already covered by this law would have little problem putting another one just like it on the books.
    Leaving McConnel's and Cantor's Ignorance unchallenged shows laziness that has been a CNN trademark.

    February 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  27. James

    Obama will find a way around it. Thanks to the AG–

    February 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • jean2009

      Why should he his funds are in a blind trust he doesn't manage? Obama will be the first to sign it....Cantor and McConnell not!

      February 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  28. irony2012

    Its funny that republicans are pushing this on the executive branch when their last president (and VP) used insider trading to get UBER rich

    February 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  29. enuff

    I seem to recall that the 60 Minute story was on CONGRESSIONAL misuse and trading, not the executive branch. So how does that play into the comment that most would say it's more common in the executive branch? I guess they really do follow the thought that most people believe what they read first.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  30. Facts

    Obviously, barack hussein obama is the worst president in history.

    Fact: It took about 232 years for the USA to rack up about $10 TRILLION to the National Debt. Yet, it only took obama 3 years to add over $5 TRILLION to that debt.

    Why is obama forcing Americans to become poorer?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • jean2009

      http://www.currentusanationaldebt.com/When-Did-The-United-States-Start-Running-A-National-Debt.html

      When George W. Bush took office the National debt stood at $5.7 Trillion when he left office it was at $10.6 Trillion and considering that the 2009 was George Bush's budget with 2 funds being borrowed for two unfunded wars. Do you not understand what the interest is on funds borrowed for 2 wars?

      http://www.npr.org/2011/01/25/133211508/the-weekly-standard-obama-vs-bush-on-debt

      February 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  31. XB2500

    Given how fast this is moving, at the fact insider trading is already illegal, one has to question is if amnesty is being written into the bill....Does anyone have the link to the bill's text and or have read it?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  32. demogoat

    Operation Hedge Fund is busting wall street guys for their insider trading. With each wire tap and arrest, they get one or two sometimes 3 or 4 new leads. These guys are turning each other in left and right. Can't wait to see the names of Issa, Pelosi, Ried, McConnell in the head lines when they start turning on these guys.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  33. Joi Gibson

    Mitch MCConnell get real. You will say anything to attach President Obama. It was members of CONGRESS

    February 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  34. Joi Gibson

    Oops, I hit the button to post before I finished.

    It was members of CONGRESS who were benefiting, not the Executive Branch. Nice trying to pivot. Me thinks you complain too much. Either way, just write the bill and quit flapping your jaws.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  35. carol becker

    This Bill should pass immediately, and I hope an outside Audit done on wife and spouse and if guilty, fire them no pension or benefits and they should be fined if guilty what they made on the trading, I would also like to see people that owe money to goverment pay their taxes a lot of people in Washington owe back taxes

    February 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  36. jean2009

    The President said he would sign the bill as soon as it arrived on his desk.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/29/congress-insider-trading_n_1240047.html

    February 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  37. Brayan

    Rosemary Woodhouse | January 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm |====================================Thank you Rosemary if I were the cuatsic type I would say that you are the only one to post a worthwhile comment here all day.The rest of the story is:In our fear of global communist domination in the height of the cold war, we (legislature, people) in the name of continuity of government gave several specific offices (most importantly, the president) the absolutely unconstrained unilateral ability to declare an instant dictatorship. The theory being (as a lesser of two evils) that ALL FUTURE PRESIDENTS would be AMERICANS with a love of country and would be SANE and would never do such a dastardly deed.A smaller example you can understand more directly perhaps: It has been pretty easy for at least 100 years for any President to bomb American cities. At a minimum, get at least one or two good shots off before being taken down somehow. Until the nuclear age, this was only a minor nuisance in that the damage would be unfortunate but sustainable. How do you feel now about a president having the ability to Nuke at least one, maybe a dozen American big cities before even somebody nearby could shoot him?This is very scary. Especially considering that the president may be a lunatic, nonAmerican, Muslim (or KGB), and pro-3rd world as against being apologetic for America and all western civilization.One reaction is OMG it is even more important that we remove him right away . An equally valid reaction is we need to proceed VERY carefully and VERY cautiously .What is the right answer?

    March 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |