Take Action: Let's Hold House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Accountable (Updated-2)

UPDATE (Dec. 17 9:07 a.m. ET): Last night, CBS News posted an early version of this weekend's 60 Minutes episode with the following text: "Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the House will take up the STOCK Act in 2012. His remarks to 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl came after he previously angered some on Capitol Hill by blocking progress on a ban on congressional 'insider trading.'" You can watch the 60 Minutes clip online here. We applaud Rep. Cantor's plans and look forward to seeing him move the STOCK Act to the floor quickly. You can rest assured that we'll be following every step of this bill's journey here on Fool.com.

UPDATE (Dec. 16 4:50 p.m. ET): Thanks to all your grassroots efforts, Rep. Cantor's office contacted us to clarify his position on the STOCK Act. According to his spokesperson, "Complete and total transparency is the key to restoring public trust. Sunlight goes a long way, which is why we are committed to moving forward in a reasoned and responsible way. In this instance, a large group of bipartisan Members on the Committee felt the legislation was flawed and being recklessly moved solely in response to media pressure. Members on both sides of the aisle wanted more time to gather information and develop responsible alternatives. Complicating matters is the fact that the legislation has been referred to five other committees. Therefore, the Chairman determined that in the interest of crafting the most effective response, the markup would be rescheduled." Also, Rep. Cantor made an on-the-record statement about the STOCK Act here.

It would appear that Rep. Cantor is indeed for the kind of transparency core to the STOCK Act. Stay tuned next week for more on this story, Fools.

--

For years, Congress has stalled on passing a law to ban insider trading on Capitol Hill. Three times, it's gone to committee. Three times, it's died there.

This year is different. With 235 Congressmen backing the bill, The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (the "STOCK Act"), finally got a fair hearing before the House Financial Services Committee last week. But no sooner had the committee scheduled the STOCK Act for final mark-up (prior to consideration by the full House) than House Majority Leader Eric Cantor blocked it. Again. For the fourth time.

Arguing that "media pressure" was behind the bill's sudden popularity, Cantor ordered his allies on the committee to suspend consideration and "develop appropriate alternatives" instead.

That's right: Despite overwhelming momentum and bipartisan support, one man is now thwarting the will of a clear majority of U.S. Congress members -- and countless American citizens.

Allowing Capitol Hill to continue to profit on insider information is wrong. We're willing to bet a majority of American voters agree. We're not backing down, and we will be heard.

That's why we're calling on every angry citizen to join us in demanding an explanation from Eric Cantor on why he is blocking this important bill:

Fool contributor Rich Smith contributed to this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (69) | Recommend This Article (218)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 7:29 PM, Dividendominator wrote:

    We need to petition against this absurdity. If its illegal for everyone else it should be illegal for them as well. No one should be above and beyond our laws.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 7:46 PM, Acesnyper wrote:

    Sent him an email.

    This is some of the most important work the Fool offers us.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 7:51 PM, rdp5008 wrote:

    Email sent. Thanks for the heads up Fool.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 8:36 PM, seattle1115 wrote:

    I enjoyed reading the comments about this subject on his Facebook wall (after leaving my own comment, of course).

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 8:55 PM, jmlerche wrote:

    left a comment on his facebook wall, thank you for keeping this going.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 9:00 PM, HigherLife wrote:

    I shared the link to this article on my Facebook wall, posted on his, and Tweeted the available Tweet. Just absurd that this is even something we have to do.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 9:44 PM, TMFTypeoh wrote:

    Sent him an email and posted on facebook

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 9:49 PM, Indiscr33t wrote:

    First Fool sponsored article that I've ever found useful.

    First time in my life that I've ever called a Congressman.

    Well worth it.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 9:53 PM, Indiscr33t wrote:

    Keep posting this info in different flavors through your "Fool" network until this thing passes.

    Keep the links in for how to contact him, that was handy.

    If quants and insiders keep rattling the market, then nobody will take part.

    Reference no volume as proof of concept.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 10:19 PM, brasscityfool wrote:

    Just posted on facebook.. unfortunately nobody cares

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2011, at 11:41 PM, Clint35 wrote:

    Why is it that one jerk can stop a bill when there's 235 congress people backing it? I thought our "democratic" process was based on majority rules, not one person telling everybody else what to do. Maybe that's the real problem.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 12:18 AM, TCNFool wrote:

    Posted. Come on folks, gang up.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 1:14 AM, iamlard wrote:

    Sent an email. If I used Twitter or Facebook, I'd post through those media outlets as well.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 1:19 AM, DoctorLewis4 wrote:

    Keep it up! If ever there was no brainer legislation!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 1:53 AM, nuke3pb wrote:

    Writing to him or using facebook is not enough. He should be remove from office. Vote is sorry a## out.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 2:33 AM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    Done and done.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 4:48 AM, genericname23 wrote:

    What a ridiculous “article”. And calling it an article is generous on my part. You didn't even give any details about what the law actually does except "a law to ban insider trading on Capitol Hill." How about citing the language of the bill or at least some other details other than the broad purpose of the bill? How about even a minimal effort to determine what Cantor’s objection might be? Once again, when it comes to political issues, Fool.com is completely ridiculous and their ignorance of the political process is clearly shown.

    Do you fools, and I mean that literally, have any doubt that there could be a law that bans insider trading by congressman that might be too broad, or might be ambiguous, or that might have otherwise poorly drafted language? I don’t think anybody should be able to trade on non-public information, but I’ll withhold my judgment about this situation until I actually get some useful information on this bill; none was provided here.

    I liked this quote from the article - "For years, Congress has stalled on passing a law to ban insider trading on Capitol Hill. Three times, it's gone to committee. Three times, it's died there." How many years? The other years it died in committee were 2007 and 2009. Nobody cared about passing this in those years (look at the number of cosponsors for those years), and I believe the democrats were controlling the House then. Is it possible that it was blocked during both republican and democrat controlled Houses because there is some issue with the Bill? I for one don't want legislation driven by a 60 Minutes report. No legislation is better than bad legislation that is rushed through because of a TV show.

    This effort to get people, most likely seriously uninformed, to spam the congressman is no better than those idiot talk radio shows that get people all riled up with half-truths and false information.

    Can anybody point me to a serious and intelligent investment site?

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 6:09 AM, TMFTomGardner wrote:

    Generic Name, thanks for your post. If you dig around a bit, you'll see that we've been writing in detail about this for years. The 60 Minutes piece has not been the catalyst at The Motley Fool.

    We are also very clear, throughout, that there is nothing partisan here. I agree. Democrats and Republicans alike have been slow to act on this problem...for reasons we can leave open to speculation.

    But there is a simple truth that you ignore in your post. Namely, that this bill in its present form has wide bipartisan support alongside the backing of a majority of members. I recommend doing a little more reading. . . because what you'll find is upset on both sides of the aisle.

    Foolishly,

    Tom Gardner

    PS Of course, we hope you'll remain in Fooldom to share your ideas, debate, and learn with..yes...Fools!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 9:12 AM, TMFBrich wrote:

    @GenericName,

    The bill needs tweaks, yes, but they could be handled in the type of markup session Rep. Cantor blocked.

    As Tom noted, this bill has bipartisan support -- and its blocking drew ire from both parties. E.g.: "Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), an early sponsor of the proposal, said Cantor's move is "absolutely unacceptable" and suggested his own leadership is being "petty." "This is a bipartisan bill," Jones said at a press briefing in the Capitol. "The leadership of the House has seen the problem, the American people have seen the problem, and we've got a way to fix the problem.... Jones said he'll welcome improvements to the bill, but warned that the existing bill, sponsored by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), must remain the base legislation."

    We've been writing about the STOCK Act since the spring of 2010 -- long before 60 Minutes -- and in the course of our coverage we've dug into some of the bill logistics. Here's from a piece published 12/9/11:

    <<While there are certainly flaws in the STOCK Act as currently drafted, these flaws consist in the restrictions not being tough enough. For example, the act requires members of Congress to disclose their stock trades a mere four times a year, rather than disclosing an intent to trade before buying or selling stock -- the standard that we adhere to here at the Fool in all of our newsletter recommendations.

    Could the bill be better? Sure. But let's be crystal clear: Some limitation on insider trading in Congress is better than no limits at all. And already, 222 members of Congress -- from both sides of the aisle, mind you -- have put their names and their reputations on the line, co-signing the STOCK Act and saying in effect: "Yes, we know the bill needs improvement. But no, don't kill it in committee again -- as you've done three times already, since the bill was first introduced in 2006. We want to take a look and make those improvements.">>

    We first wrote about the STOCK Act in May 2010, fyi: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2010/05/18/highway-rob...

    -Brian Richards

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 9:13 AM, TMFBrich wrote:

    One point of clarification: The Walter Jones quote is from The Hill: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/198185-gop-lawmaker-house-...

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 9:41 AM, eksummers620 wrote:

    My email to him

    Congressman Cantor:

    I am stunned that you would block the progress of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. If it is against the law for Wall Street to trade on insider knowledge and it should certainly be prohibited on Capitol Hill.

    Momentum behind the STOCK Act is not, as you say, a result of "media pressure." The momentum is a result of investors such as myself becoming educated on the issues and urging our law makers to do the right thing.

    As an investor this issue is important to me. As a voter, this issue extremely important to me.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 10:13 AM, hiddenflem wrote:

    Keep after them everyone we will get this done.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 10:24 AM, sgt1917 wrote:

    Cantor is doing many great things to help the USA at the current time. I have a feeling that there are other reasons of critical importance for blocking said Bill, which is why he is working to do so. I would like to hear both sides.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 10:30 AM, jormar1990 wrote:

    You can read the full text of the bill and contact your congressmen using PopVox

    https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr1148

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 10:43 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On December 16, 2011, at 10:24 AM, sgt1917 wrote:

    "Cantor is doing many great things to help the USA at the current time. I have a feeling that there are other reasons of critical importance for blocking said Bill, which is why he is working to do so. I would like to hear both sides."

    Sgt.,

    You're not going to hear both sides here.

    They have some great investment advice. But IMO, are decidedly "Left" at Fool Headquarters.

    I am still looking for the number to call to protest OBama's handling of the Economy....

    Now. Suck it up and give me 50.

    Sky Pilot

    Proud Air Force Vet.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 10:49 AM, devoish wrote:

    Hi.

    You linked to Rich Smiths article where he says a stock act should;

    pass a law that forbids trading on information available only to Capitol Hill insiders ...

    punish congressmen who break the law ...

    and require congressmen to file regular reports on their trading activity, not just the once-per-year update on the dollar value of securities they've bought or sold that is currently required.

    Does this bill do any of that? Is it any more enforcable than insider trading rules against GS or GE insiders? I'm guessing probably not.

    The other question that comes to my mind is which Congressmen made out so well?

    Did they all beat the market? Or did just a few of them have outsized returns that skewed the average of all Congressmen upward?

    Ron Paul has made nice returns buying gold and fighting federal spending on everything else, while promoting a return to the gold standard. Does that make him the bad guy?

    By way of comparison, nobody is accusing the TMF newsletter of insider trading based strictly upon beating the S&P averages and access to company ceo's.

    I also think there is already a law that says it is illegal, but a second one certainly wont be ignored.

    I don't think it is right for Congressmen to have the advantage of insider trading any more than the executives of the companys who lobby to influence that legislation should have that advantage.

    But while some would paint all Congressmen with the corruption brush, I'd rather know specifically which Congressmen got outsized returns and should be painted with the corruption brush.

    But so far, I've only seen averages talked about.

    And I cannot see any reason not to extend such a law to lobbyists, aids, career civil servants, etc.

    I also suppose it is not really right to suspect their investing ability while we are also asking everyone else to surrender their SSI and pensions to their investing ability.

    I'm kind of struggling against the idea that some of the voices who are suggesting our Congressman are corrupt because they outperformed the market, are also telling us we should abandon SSI and defined benefit pension plans and count on outperforming the market for our retirements.

    Is the idea really that Congressmen cannot outperform the market, but all the rest of us should still have to?

    Is that what you are going to ask of todays college grads who are going to miss the first 15 years of compunding while they pay down their college loans, if they even can?

    Best wishes,

    Steven

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 11:35 AM, lenyang wrote:

    I posted a comment on his FB page and sent the link to this MF page to my friends on FB. Also emailed him. This is not the GOP of old. These greedy extremists take hubris to a new level.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 12:13 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    @devoish: So many points ... I'd have to write yet another article to respond to them all point by point. Rather than doing that, I'll point you to a detailed examination of the data, and why the STOCK Act is needed, authored by UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge:

    http://www.uiowa.edu/~lawjcl/articles/volume%2036-2/Bainbrid...

    Give that a readthrough, and if you have any questions after, or need any of the lawyer-speak translated into English for you, I'll be glad to help.

    Feel free to write me directly at: rsmith@fool.com

    Fool on!

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 12:21 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    sgt1917 wrote:

    "Cantor is doing many great things to help the USA at the current time. I have a feeling that there are other reasons of critical importance for blocking said Bill, which is why he is working to do so. I would like to hear both sides."

    I believe it was hard for TMF to present both sides, because Cantor hasn't really explained any specific issues that he had with the bill. He basically just said he wants "more time" to think about it. This seems like a cop-out to me, especially considering the bill has been around for 6 years. You can read more about the specifics of what happened here:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-eric-cantor-blocking-congr...

    http://www.wgrz.com/news/article/145317/1/STOCK-Act-Scuttled

    Even if you agree with Cantor's policies in general, that certainly doesn't obligate you to agree with him on every single issue.

    skypilot2005 wrote:

    "They have some great investment advice. But IMO, are decidedly "Left" at Fool Headquarters."

    It seems like you're just trying to start an argument, because this has nothing to do with anything. This bill has very strong bipartisan support, as the article mentioned. You can see the cosponsors here:

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1148

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 12:38 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On December 16, 2011, at 12:21 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    "It seems like you're just trying to start an argument, because this has nothing to do with anything. This bill has very strong bipartisan support, as the article mentioned. You can see the cosponsors here:"

    Take another look at the title of this article:

    Take Action: Let's Hold House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Accountable

    Now tell me that Cantor is the only one opposing it..

    Come on....

    Sky Pilot

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 1:08 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    This is really, really simple, folks:

    A majority of the House, both Republicans and Democarats, supports the bill.

    The Republican chair of the committee that reviewed the bill last week was ready to move forward with it.

    Majority Leader Cantor called him into a closed-door meeting and told him not to.

    That is why we are holding Cantor accountable. Because he subverted the democractic process, and substituted his opinion of the bill for that of both the congressmen on the committee reviewing it, and the house membership at large.

    Simple as that.

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 2:21 PM, jjfoolguy wrote:

    I just called their office. According to the guy I spoke to, Congressman Cantor is in favor of reform, but thinks the bill "can be improved". I asked how the Congressman proposed to improve the bill that 235 members supported and the guy didn't know.

    I wonder how much money Mr. Cantor has made on insider trading? Don't let him get away with this.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 2:57 PM, HowardBud wrote:

    I live in Cantor's district, he has received an email from me asking him to get on the ball and make this happen -

    HowardBud

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 3:25 PM, cedar996 wrote:

    Thank you for raising awareness of this issue. I have no doubt that the reason this legislation hasn't made it through the committee yet is due to greed on the part of certain members that want to exploit this opportunity for personal financial gain.

    What compelling reason does congress have to pass a law that limits their members' ability to consistently beat the market using insider information?

    Even if they get voted out of office, they would use their inside connections to come back as a lobbyist and make even more money to take advantage of the system.

    This is just another example of our unfair and unbalanced system of government that is in dire need of a complete overhaul.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 4:06 PM, rclaussen wrote:

    Would you make an investment decision without doing your own due diligence? Do you know there are at least three bills currently in Congress dealing with the issue of Congressional Insider Trading? Have you read and understood the strengths and weaknesses of each of the three bills? I suspect many of the individuals posting would have to answer “No” to the questions posed. I have no problem with individuals contacting their legislator and in fact encourage that contact. However, without an understanding of the issue you wish to discuss you do a disservice to both you and the legislator you are contacting. To have an intelligent discussion that can lead to meaningful results involves more than simply acting on a sound bite. It involves looking at what is to be discussed from multiple viewpoints, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each – nothing more than what we do when making a decision to extend our resources and become an owner of a company.

    It is our responsibility as a citizen to take part in the governing of our nation. Part of that responsibility involves understanding the facts when making our decisions to contact our legislators or cast our vote. We use due diligence when making our investment decisions, we should expect no less when exercising our right to enter into a dialogue with our legislators.

    I agree with the general concept of H.R. 1148 – Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act to minimize the opportunity for those with nonpublic knowledge from trading on that knowledge. However, in this specific instance, the mechanism for enforcement falls short in placing the burden on the SEC for formulating regulations and proving the act, a burden for which the SEC is imminently qualified. In light of that, the SEC is dependent on the Legislative Branch for appropriations to its budget – a clear source of conflict. Perhaps a better method as some have suggested in their posts and the bill would be a Blind Trust. While not completely infallible, it puts a barrier between those receiving nonpublic information and their ability to act on their own behalf, reducing the opportunity for mischief, and taking away some of the ability of others claim they are all “crooks” and “scoundrels”.

    A good summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the present bill may be found in this link provided by TMFDitty - http://www.uiowa.edu/~lawjcl/articles/volume%2036-2/Bainbrid... Insider Trading Inside the Beltway. I take exception to the analysis of the scope of the problem, but the legal basis and the analysis of changes to the present legislation in remedying the issue is worth the read. As I read the posts to this point, there is a misunderstanding of the issue why Congressmen are currently exempt. The link works through the legal logic to clarify that point.

    I will be quite honest – there is no love lost between myself and Senator Cantor. At this point I do not know the reason(s) or the circumstances of his action to perhaps kill H.R. 1148. All we have are the news reports of what he is purported to have said. It is important to offer Senator Cantor the opportunity to provide an explanation from his point of view of his actions. Without that understanding, it simply becomes a matter of my expressing my opinion for which he may agree or disagree – end of contact, result – you shared your opinion – so what? For any meaningful action, a dialogue must take place – that does not happen in a vacuum. We may still not reach agreement, but at least we have an understanding of the arguments involved and can more meaningfully determine our next course of action. If in fact the reason given in the news reports is time is necessary to debate the actions contemplated in the bill, the next logical question is – what is the schedule for having the necessary debate so I may follow the progress and raise questions if the schedule is not being met?

    For a background and examples of what can be done, I invite you to review the information in the following links:

    http://boards.fool.com/how-we-got-here-where-are-we-headed-2... How We Got Here - Where Are We Headed? An extensive analysis with supporting documentation of why we are where we are.

    http://boards.fool.com/is-the-grinch-going-8230-29724572.asp... Is the Grinch … An Email to Congressional Leadership about H.R. 3630 (Payroll Tax Extension)

    http://boards.fool.com/the-senate-recessed-this-evening-abou... Follow up Email to Congressional Leadership about inclusion of Keystone XL Pipeline Project in H.R. 3630 (Payroll Tax Extension)

    Thank you,

    Bob

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 5:59 PM, rosalindr wrote:

    Calling or emailing Cantor won't make any difference unless you vote in the 7th District in Virginia. Here's information on Cantor's opponent in 2012. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/about

    I don't know anything about E. Wayne Powell but his first bullet point is Cantor's blockage of "legislation to prevent members of Congress from trading stocks on insider information." That may be just a convenient political attack, but Powell sounds like he will be a strong opponent against Cantor.

    I don't live in Virginia or even close but I plan to follow this Congressional race closely next year and may even contribute to Powell's campaign. How about the rest of you?

    Roz

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 6:20 PM, donbcms wrote:

    "Generic" must be drinking "Tea Party" Tea ! ! The links are all there, USE 'EM.! !

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 6:37 PM, XMFHRFool wrote:

    I'm in District 8 and Rep. Moran is one of the cosponsors of the bill. I still think people need to be aware of this and I'll continue to tweet, and blog and post on FB.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2011, at 9:25 PM, devoish wrote:

    Hi, again.

    First, this whole issue is based upon suspicion.

    The entire case is built upon the belief that Congressmen have gotten outsized returns and have access to priviliged information.

    That same accusation has been leveled at TMF over the years with suspicion that newsletter buys are acted upon or leaked ahead of scheduled distribution. In the case of the newsletters, there is no doubt that some paying members have used the recommendations to buy ahead of the majority of people, who do not have access to trading desks at 12:00 when the newsletters come out. The newsletters have even advised us to wait for that pop to drop before we buy.

    The reason I compare TMF to Congress is that there really is no evidence that either has committed any ethical or fraudulent violation. There is only suspicion.

    The entire sum of the evidence in the

    http://www.uiowa.edu/~lawjcl/articles/volume%2036-2/Bainbrid... link is based on two reports written by Alan Ziobrowski with James Boyd and there is just not a whole lot of evidence in it. Honestly I suspect there is not any, but please go check the methodology and if you can follow it, let me know if you think it is good. http://insidertrading.procon.org/sourcefiles/abnormal-return...

    Reporting:

    All Congressmen are required with force of penalty to report there trades annually on March 15th. To the person who was concerned about Congressman Cantor, you can see his personal finances here, http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/CIDsummary.php?CID=N00013131... I don't like Cantor, but it seems he has sold stocks and bought funds for the last two years. Feel free to turn your suspicion into an evidence based accusation connecting his trades to legislation he has worked on. But for the time being we still are not lynching people in this country. They get to face their accuser, they get to appear for trial and they get to defend themslves against whatever evidence we have. Even Congressmen.

    The bill in question would require Congressmen to report quarterly instead of annually. I cannot see any reason Congressmen should not be held to the same standard as corporate insiders and be required to report within two days of a trade. The bill as it stands is not enough.

    The bill in question requires Congressmen to report trades to the Secretary of Congress, as they do now. In addition they should be required to report to the SEC and have those trades be made public, just as corporate insiders must. The bill falls short here, also. When you search the EDGAR database for insider trades, Congressional trade information should also be displayed.

    That is additional work for someone in Government and does add to the size of Government, a concern of many here. It will not happen by magic.

    Punishment.

    The bill does not address the issue of punishment at all. In a case of insider trading for personal gain, I would suggest a fine triple any gain. In a case of a Congressman impacting a law to benefit a friend or corporation I would mandate jail time for both partys in the event of a conviction, and the loss of all property.

    But i am really not happy with the idea that Congress should have the authority to sanction or force an elected Senator or Congressman to step down against the will of the voting public.

    For example, what happened to Congressman Wiener should have been left to voters, not pressure from Congress.

    These days it seems far to easy to get folks worked up about issues they haven't thought through and any authority to depose an elected Congressman could become a boon to the criminally corrupt and a threat to Democracy.

    So the issue of punishment needs to be adressed.

    Finally, this is all probably a waste of time. There really is nothing here to stop a corrupt Congressman from phoning a friend to make his trades for him.

    And there is nothing to stop a public company from putting some funds aside to pay a corrupt Congressman a nice salary when he steps down. Or the even greater advantage that gives a private company, that does not disclose as publicly what it is up to.

    Which is why I am against term limits for Congressmen. It is just a way of getting a corrupt Congressman his payday a little quicker with no one questioning why he left Congress. It also forever gives every Congressman the ability to blame the last one, but that is not relevant here.

    Ultimately this legislation is not a real solution to any of the concerns raised, and could lead to larger problems by giving congress the authority to punish another, by party vote and become another nail in Democracys coffin.

    Best wishes,

    Steven

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 12:11 AM, Gyre07 wrote:

    Rep. Cantor is at the heart of the problem with Congress. Forget the need for a detailed explanation from him. We don't need it. It's nothing but an excuse, and we all know what those are worth. Moreover, this is a very simple piece of prospective legislation. A half-way intelligent 5th grader could grasp it. Virginia? Dump this traitor. What's your excuse if you don't? You think it's fair for Congressmen to commit insider trading? I know, I know. Career politicians need more money than the rest of us because somebody should be able to afford 2-3 month long trips to Aruba. I'm sure they're just better Americans all around, and thus deserve it. Cantor is a blight on America. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be puking if they could see what we've become.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 12:30 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On December 16, 2011, at 1:08 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    "The Republican chair of the committee that reviewed the bill last week was ready to move forward with it.

    Majority Leader Cantor called him into a closed-door meeting and told him not to.

    That is why we are holding Cantor accountable. Because he subverted the democractic process, and substituted his opinion of the bill for that of both the congressmen on the committee reviewing it, and the house membership at large. "

    Wow.

    Serious allegations.

    "subverted the democratic process"

    Cantor sure must be a powerful guy.

    According to TMF Ditty, he is going against the wishes of those that elected him Majority Leader.

    TMF Ditty also states that it was a closed door meeting. Who is his source?

    So. It appears, according to TMF Ditty, Representative Cantor is operating like Russia's Putin.

    The fact of the matter is that Representatives are free to vote how they wish. The voters can hold them accountable.

    Rep. Cantor from your (TMF) website:

    "Mr. Cantor: I'm not familiar with the details of the STOCK Act, but I know it was mentioned in the program last night. My sense is it requires more disclosure. I am for increased disclosure. If there is any sense of impropriety or any appearance of that, we should take extra steps to make sure the public's cynicism is addressed. We are not here to be hiding anything. And I have always been - when it comes to either financial disclosures or campaign finance disclosures - very supportive of full disclosure as much as possible, so that the public can continue to make their decisions on a full airing of the facts."

    Sounds like a reasonable guy to me.

    TMF Ditty,

    How about spending some time on giving us something useful financially? Instead of creating false Villains.

    Sky Pilot

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 3:34 AM, yavapaiman wrote:

    I have zero trouble with holding politicians' feet to the fire. I'd love to do it, and waterboarding would seem a pleasant game by comparison. But I've only been a member of the MF 2 years, and I wonder if you've been as passionate about holding responsible the GENUINE culprits of the home mortgage debacle. Did you demand that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, who were primarily responsible, be burned at the stake? How about the "genius" Greenspan holding prime rates effectively at zero for 15 years, and his successor Bernanke who's printing currency so fast our dollar will eventually be worthless? How about the Federal Reserve in general which has caused a 98% decrease in the dollar's value since 1913 when during the entire 19th century the dollar's value barely fluctuated? And the CRA, passed in 1973 to be affirmative action in housing for people with bad or no credit histories and bad or no work histories? Have you condemned the actions of the EEOC that literally FORCED banks to make bad loans or shut down? I would genuinely like to know. Read The Housing Boom and Bust by Thomas Sowell if you're unaware of these facts.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 7:22 AM, billjacobus1 wrote:

    I don't know the facts. That does not mean that the bill shouldn't go to the floor as is. I want to see it dissected and debated. Bipartisan support does not mean much to me, especially if there is one guy who takes it for the team, even for the "opposing" team.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 8:18 AM, ETFsRule wrote:

    skypilot2005 wrote:

    "Now tell me that Cantor is the only one opposing it.."

    If anyone else is opposing it, they sure are being quiet about it..

    "Sounds like a reasonable guy to me.

    TMF Ditty,

    How about spending some time on giving us something useful financially? Instead of creating false Villains."

    Skypilot, that is absurd. In your quote, Cantor claims that he is in favor of disclosure and accountability... yet, he BLOCKED THE BILL!!! He is saying one thing and doing the exact opposite.

    And you still haven't provided an explanation of why he objects to the bill. He says he needs more time, but if Congress is ready to pass it, why does he need more time? The bill has been worked on for 6 years already, and he is pretending that he hasn't read it, and doesn't even know what's in it? That is the most ridiculous justification I have ever seen.

    "So. It appears, according to TMF Ditty, Representative Cantor is operating like Russia's Putin."

    That pretty much sums it up. A member of his own party scheduled a vote on this bill, and Cantor indefinitely delayed that vote - in other words, he is trying to kill the bill. If he wanted to improve the bill, well, he has already had 6 years to work on it. How long do they need to work on a bill, when it already has enough votes to pass? How much time does he require, before he can allow Congress to vote on it?

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 11:51 AM, feenix1944 wrote:

    This is just a hunch, but maybe Cantor, et.al. are delaying this so that (a) they can adjust their portfolio's to cover their derrieres from future scrutiny and (b) in hope that the S&P500 will rise enough to maximize profits for them.

    Maybe I'm just being cynical, though...

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 3:37 PM, bikingdoc wrote:

    Methinks the Fool doth protest a bit too much here. Of interest is the striking observation that when TMF gets involved with politics (which they shouldn't!), it's invariably to bash a Republican!

    Meanwhile the hapless clown posing as President continues to prove he's both the most incompetent and dishonest President ever. Funny that TMF never notices any of Obama's many giant flubs, some of which have made us the laughingstock of the Western world!

    (E.g. "Requesting" that Iran return the downed drone--now there's a joke!)

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 5:24 PM, TMFTomGardner wrote:

    BikingDoc, I can assure you -- with absolute 100% certainty -- that we have no intentional political bias. (Who can say what any of our unintentional biases are.)

    In this case, I believe both Democrats and Republicans have representatives that have taken advantage of the public trust. We have been writing about this issue -- and I can assure you...we do not protest too much.

    We are talking about our representatives getting information to make stock deals, land deals, and business deals that are highly unethical and should be made illegal. The beauty of the Internet is that it allows a government BY the people and FOR the people...like never before.

    I can assure you that we will not become a politlcally leaning organization. And if you look at our 7-part series on the mainpage right now...you will see us being very clearly critical of the former Democractic governor of New Jersey.

    Stay hungry, stay Foolish.

    Tom Gardner

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 5:25 PM, PoundMutt wrote:

    “this bill has bipartisan support”

    Bipartisanship is when the EVIL party and the STUPID party get together and pass a law that is BOTH EVIL and STUPID

    “maybe Cantor, et.al. are delaying this so that (a) they can adjust their portfolio's to cover their derrieres from future scrutiny”

    Will this be an EX POST FACTO law?

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2011, at 6:41 PM, maiday2000 wrote:

    The same ends as proposed by the STOCK Act could be achieved by funneling less money through Washington. If the Federal Government stopped picking winners and losers with so many subsidies and ad hoc regulations (that number in the millions) we wouldn't have to worry about them making money on non-public information!

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2011, at 2:12 AM, Melaschasm wrote:

    I am on the political right, and if I were in his district, I would vote to elect Eric Cantor.

    However, he is totally wrong on this bill. By delaying, and possibly killing this bill he is making a big mistake on both policy and politics.

    If Cantor wants to amend the bill to change the language, that is fine with me, but to block the bill is unacceptable.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2011, at 9:57 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On December 17, 2011, at 5:24 PM, TMFTomG wrote:

    "BikingDoc, I can assure you -- with absolute 100% certainty -- that we have no intentional political bias. (Who can say what any of our unintentional biases are.)"

    Tom,

    As a fellow Fool, I wonder how much time you want staff spending on “Political” issues.

    With 99.54% and 96.4% CAPS scores, wouldn’t Ditty and HRFool’s time be better spent evaluating investments?

    Even Birch and Housel are over 85%.

    Look at it from my perspective. I am a Fool in order to enrich myself and I have. The only reason I comment on these types of articles is because I hate to see our community portrayed as being “political”.

    I dislike seeing staff spending their time on political issues. It is not unique. Countless websites offer political commentary.

    I respectfully suggest that the Fool’s greatest ‘Equity” is your reputation for enriching Fools.

    That’s how I discovered you.

    I’d focus on that.

    You may increase your page visits but diminish your “Brand” in the long term going “Political”; Right or Left.

    Happy Holidays.

    Fool On,

    Sky Pilot

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2011, at 2:34 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    Sky Pilot,

    First, thanks for the CAPS compliment. Second, I'm keeping the investing writing going; don't worry about that. Several new articles should be going up on Boeing, Corning, and others Monday, if I can wrap them up in time.

    Third and most on-point, let me explain why we're delving into "politics" here. This is more than a simple moral "this is wrong, and must be stopped" argument. (Although it is that, too.)

    As I told (coincidentally) the Russia Times in an interview last year, part of what worries us is that by creating the appearance -- or worse, the fact -- of an unlevel playing field, Congress adds to the impression that investing is a rigged game that profits no one but the insiders. It scares individual investors away from the market, and in so doing imperils their financial future.

    At the Fool, we're all about reassuring investors that they can invest successfully, and showing them how. *You* may understand that it's safe to invest in the markets, and that you can profit there regardless of the actions of insiders -- but not everyone else understands that.

    So part of our job is to help people understand this. But another part is to work hard to make sure that what we're telling them is true. That the playing field is as level as we can make it, and that it's safe to invest in the market. I believe passing the STOCK Act will help accomplish both of these goals.

    Foolish best,

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2011, at 4:29 PM, TMFTomGardner wrote:

    Couldn't have said it any better than Ditty. I'll just add that this is so clearly about investing and finance -- the politics are a sideshow. SkyPilot, I'm sure you agree that insider trading should be made illegal. I'm confident this is going to happen, that The Motley Fool community has made and will make a difference, and the markets will be stronger for it. Some folks thought we were out of line in pushing for Regulation Full Disclosure, which the former head of the SEC said passed because of The Motley Fool community (and at just a 5-4 vote!).

    Respectfully, SkyPilot, you are drawing the wrong conclusions and off of flawed assumptions. Politics is no aim of ours, but government plays a significant role in setting economic policy and laying down regulations. And in this situation, it is particularly obvious that the world's greatest investment community must stand for what is right by strongly advocating for an end to insider dealing and trading by elected officials. I'm proud of the work we've done and will continue to do on this issue.

    Tom Gardner

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 5:52 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On December 18, 2011, at 2:34 PM, TMFDitty wrote

    "*You* may understand that it's safe to invest in the markets, and that you can profit there regardless of the actions of insiders -- but not everyone else understands that. "

    On December 18, 2011, at 4:29 PM, TMFTomG wrote:

    "I'll just add that this is so clearly about investing and finance --"

    Good points. They had not occurred to me.

    I feel better now continuing to recommend TMF to fellow investors.

    I read "The Astonishing Collapse of MF Global"

    article last night. Excellent piece.

    How to we get a piece of the movie rights? :)

    Fool on.

    Sky Pilot

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 10:12 AM, TMFTomGardner wrote:

    SkyPilot,

    To me, the most beautiful thing about The Motley Fool is our community. This is where we can meet to discuss, debate, and change our minds. Your posts in this thread have had an effect on me. You've convinced me that we need to be even more careful to clarify to the world that we don't take a political position at the company. Thank you for speaking your mind.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the MF Global piece. I think we will have even more to say about MF Global going forward. I also think you'll see more and more in-depth reporting like this from The Fool.

    We're thankful to have you in our community. Foolish best,

    Tom

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 12:22 PM, Cedarjones wrote:

    How about Congress pass a law that subjects themselves to the same laws they pass for everyone else! They need to feel the same compliance pain that we do.

    As far as the STOCK Act is concerned, I say slow down and get it right. I hate rush jobs. That's why we have Sarb-Ox, a very ill-thought, knee-jerk law that was rushed to a vote after the Enron collapse.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 12:36 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    Looks like Eric Cantor is actually trying to expand the reach of the STOCK act to include land sales. I did not see the 60 minutes piece but there is an article about it on Politico. Politicians buy up tracts of land for cheap and then make millions when earmark spending request get passed for things such as highways or development prjects make the land more valuable. This is much more lucrative for the pols then stock trading, and I am glad Cantor said he wants to include it in the bill.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 12:48 PM, eckass wrote:

    It's great to hold all politicians accountable, how about holding our CEO obama accountable.

    CEO (community expletive organizer)

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 1:18 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    @SoundTrading: The 60 Minutes piece did not happen. We're not sure if it got pushed, or got canceled, or who might have made the decision to push/cancel.

    Regardless, I agree with you that adding a restriction on insider-knowledge-inspired R/E purchases is a good idea.

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 1:27 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    Thanks TMFDitty-

    I have a few questions and instead of researching it myself I will just ask here. (Sorry, kind of busy today). Would it be illegal under current law for a Senator or Rep. to propose or push passage of a law if it could be proven it was solely to profit from it's enactment? If so has this ever been prosecuted, and was it successful?

    Thanks

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2011, at 5:41 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On December 19, 2011, at 10:12 AM, TMFTomG wrote:

    “SkyPilot,

    To me, the most beautiful thing about The Motley Fool is our community. This is where we can meet to discuss, debate, and change our minds. Your posts in this thread have had an effect on me. You've convinced me that we need to be even more careful to clarify to the world that we don't take a political position at the company. Thank you for speaking your mind. “

    You’re welcome.

    I work in Government now but previously worked a long time for two different multinational corporations.

    I’ve observed that moving brand image around or altering it can diminish a brand’s equity. Of course, it can also increase brand equity but long term I’ve found that to be the exception relative to consumer products. It is unquestionably risky. You want to keep a brand’s image “Crystal Clear”.

    I thought about your brand image yesterday and it is just incredible. That is a credit to you and your senior management team. If I was still in the business, I’d propose to use it as an example and analyze it extensively.

    In the corporations I worked for, we spent many hours analyzing our, other brands’ images and resulting equity. Often they were brands from other product categories.

    The goal was to identify the “The Holy Grail” that is; Our distinct competitive advantage. Once identified, we would leverage that advantage to increase sales and profits. It is very effective.

    I respectfully submit that mobilizing a letter writing campaign to Congress is not one of your Distinct Competitive Advantages.

    But, those 60 hour work weeks are behind me now. My blood pressure is normal, I have time to develop personal relationships and I don’t miss the corporate culture. 

    I wish only the best for you and your family.

    Fool On,

    Sky Pilot

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2011, at 5:29 PM, FredBrown wrote:

    Why is a new Bill needed. Is this not the same group of people that created & passed the Surbane Oxaley Act that major corporations all have to follow? Why are members of Congress exempt for the very laws they pass? This is the real issue as far as I am concerned. They have a different set of laws than the taxpayers. That is what needs to be stopped.

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2011, at 7:55 PM, carpeck wrote:

    This used car salesman looking gangster needs to be sent packing. He is all about himself, and his party.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2011, at 1:29 PM, dirtywhiteboyiiz wrote:

    AGAIN, YOU ALL HAVE IT WRONG

    its NOT suppose to be ban all insider trading ( or however they phrase it)

    ITS ABOUT ALL TRANSACTION BEING REAL -TIME TRANSPARENT

    When a CEO makes a move it should be KNOWN IN REAL TIME THEN THE PEOPLE CAN DECIDE WHAT TO DO

    THAT RULE WOULD BE PUT INTO PLAY BY THE SHAREHOLDERS

    AS far as law makers go

    THEY ARE PUBLIC SERVANTS

    WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW IN REAL TIME

    SO INSTEAD OF MORE SECRECY, which means hidden, which means more acts are IN FACT, HIDDEN

    bring it out in the open

    AGAIN, WE'RE BEING FOOLED

    ( and not in a good way my fellow "Foolyins"

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2011, at 4:41 PM, cornell22 wrote:

    The Fool is playing politics. Stick with stock picks.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2011, at 11:52 PM, jmh1944 wrote:

    I disagree with the creating a new law outlawing insider trading for members of congress. Too specific.

    *** Members of congress should have to obey ALL laws and be subject to the SAME penalties as all the rest of us fools. They should not be allowed to exempt themselves from ANY laws they pass. ***

    What are the odds of this happening??? Zero?!

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2011, at 3:06 PM, UFOFred wrote:

    Thanks for taking on this issue.

    I left a message for Cantor, 'tho I live far from his district.

    But it is not surprising that this did not pass the "Do nothing Congress". The real solution is to vote these clowns* out of office and get in people who take their responsibilities seriously.

    * My apology to those engaged in the honorable profession of being clowns.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2012, at 7:27 PM, thidmark wrote:

    "They have a different set of laws than the taxpayers. That is what needs to be stopped."

    Finally, someone gets it. It is appalling that a bill like this has to be passed in the first place. And some of you want MORE government??

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2012, at 9:35 AM, donvesco100 wrote:

    When giving political assessments, FOOL is as much, if not more hypocritical than any member of congress. The very idea that one might (having recently acheived a majority in ONE Half of ONE third of the government) choose to craft carefully rather than ram through a bill (we have to pass it to find out what's in it...) like Pelosi and her Democrat ruled house did. Perhaps the FOOL prefers it to be "deemed to pass".

    Look, the majority of federal government is Democrat. Hold their feet to the fire.

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