Monday, March 19, 2012

Senators Leahy and Grassley Call for Conference Committee to Reinsert Their Amendments into the STOCK Act

In a letter to Senate leaders, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged the convening of a House-Senate conference committee on the congressional insider trading bill, the STOCK Act, to restore two key amendments to the legislation. Senator Leahy, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, wants the Senate to restore his amendment to give prosecutors new tools to identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal conduct by public officials. Senator Grassley, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, wants a conference committee to renew his amendment requiring political intelligence agents to register as lobbyists. The Senate overwhelmingly passed both amendments but the House of Representatives’ version of the bill excluded the provisions.

Senators Leahy and Grassley wrote to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), urging a conference committee to resolve the differences between the Senate and House bills or alternatively, the opportunity to offer their amendments if the Senate takes up the House bill instead of convening a conference committee.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) passed the Senate with these two critical provisions, which the Senators say would improve transparency and give law enforcement more effective tools to combat corruption. The Grassley Amendment requiring political intelligence agents to register as lobbyists would strengthens the STOCK Act by ensuring that lawmakers, congressional staff, and the public know who is feeding information to Wall Street. The Leahy Amendment would give prosecutors new tools to identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal conduct by public officials, and thereby further the STOCK Act’s goals of stopping public corruption and holding public officials accountable for wrongdoing.

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