60 MINUTES –Our elected officials spend too much time rubbing shoulders with lobbyists and catering to the whims of special interests, all while our country is in serious economic trouble


Dear Kevin,

It’s no surprise that polls show our faith in Congress has fallen to near all-time lows. Our elected officials spend too much time rubbing shoulders with lobbyists and catering to the whims of special interests, all while our country is in serious economic trouble.

Close the loopholes:

Outlaw insider trading by members of Congress.

Take Action Now.
But they’re not just wining and dining with fat cat corporate leaders and their hired guns. A 60 Minutes piece that aired this month (1) showed that members of Congress can use the non-public information that they have access to as part of their jobs to make investments and stock market moves. It’s called political insider trading – and it ought to be a crime. Our representatives shouldn’t be able to amass personal fortunes by trading on non-public knowledge that could affect the future price of stocks.

The STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act, which has been introduced in both the House and Senate and has bipartisan support, would outlaw insider trading by members of Congress.

Tell your Representatives and Senators that you want to see this bill come up for a vote before they adjourn in December!

So why don’t insider trading regulations apply to Congress today? Because under current law, insider trading is defined as the buying or selling of securities or commodities based on non-public information in violation of confidentiality – either to the issuing company or the source of information. Since Congressional officials do not owe a duty of confidentiality to these companies, they can’t be held liable for insider trading. But they do owe a duty to us, their constituents.

It’s not hard to imagine a situation where a member of Congress could know whether a piece of legislation, or even an amendment, will pass or fail — and how that action could impact a particular company or even an entire industry. The temptation to use that information for personal gain could be tremendous.

That’s why the STOCK Act (H.R.1148 / S.1871) is so crucial. It would make clear that Members of Congress — and their staffers — could not use non-public information gained on the job to make investments or trades for their own personal benefit.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee this Thursday.(2) That’s a good first step, but we can’t let it be the last step.

Tell Congress that the STOCK Act must come up for a vote before they adjourn for 2011.

Sincerely,

Bob Edgar
and the rest of the team at Common Cause

(1) Watch the 60 Minutes report.
(2) The hearing on Thursday, December 1 at 2:30pm will be live streamed. Mark your calendar with this link to watch.

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About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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3 Responses to 60 MINUTES –Our elected officials spend too much time rubbing shoulders with lobbyists and catering to the whims of special interests, all while our country is in serious economic trouble

  1. eslkevin says:

    Kevin,

    Massive corporations hate being held accountable when their recklessness and greed hurt our economy, our environment and people in our communities — and they’re spending millions on lobbyists and campaign contributions to put their priorities on top.

    So instead of policies that would actually help put Americans back to work, Congress this week is focusing on what the corporate lobbyists want: deregulation.

    The House of Representatives is set to vote later this week on bills that would sabotage the regulatory system and further rig the economy in favor of the top 1 percent. Don’t let it happen.

    Tell your representative: VOTE NO on deregulation.

    Here’s what you need to know about the THREE deregulatory bills coming to a vote this week:

    The REINS Act (H.R. 10) would block all new safeguards put in place by regulatory agencies from going into effect unless Congress affirmatively adopts them. Given the gridlock in Congress, this means the regulatory system would grind to a halt.

    Essentially, the REINS Act would undermine the whole point of having agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration — agencies that exist precisely because Congress cannot and will not write all the rules necessary to protect the public from business practices that endanger our health, environment and economy.

    The Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 3010) and the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (H.R. 527) would take a different approach, adding hurdles that would make it virtually impossible for agencies to write new rules.

    Passage of any of these bills would have devastating results: virtually no new standards to ensure a clean environment, a fair and stable economy, or safe food, consumer products and workplaces.

    This is the way Corporate America wants Washington to work. Instead of protecting people and our environment, priority is being given to those who profit by exploiting and polluting our communities.

    The public’s power to prevent wrongdoing and hold reckless businesses accountable should be strengthened, not weakened.

    Urge Congress to support safeguards that protect our financial security, our health and our environment.

    Then follow up your message with a call:

    Dial 1-888-291-9824

    This toll-free number will connect you with the U.S. Capitol switchboard. When the operator answers, ask to be connected with your representative’s office.

    All you have to do is tell the staffer who answers the phone that you want your representative to VOTE NO on H.R. 10, H.R. 3010 and H.R. 527.

    thumbnail photo of Rick Claypool

    Thanks for all you do,

    Rick Claypool
    Public Citizen’s Online Action Team
    action@citizen.org

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