"There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
-- Mark Twain
I don't often find myself in agreement with Sarah Palin, but I was thoroughly convinced by her arguments in a recent piece titled "How Congress Occupied Wall Street."
After beginning with the same hilarious quote from Mark Twain, she demanded that "laws that apply to the private sector must apply to Congress" and insisted, "Trading on non-public government information should be illegal both for those who pass on the information and those who trade on it." Ultimately, she concluded by declaring that "real reform must transcend political parties."
We couldn't agree more at The Motley Fool, and that's why we've been fighting for years on behalf of the STOCK Act, a proposed law that is designed to prohibit Senators and Representatives from trading securities based on nonpublic information. The legislation would also require additional reporting of financial information by members of Congress. Ultimately, we feel strongly that investors deserve a level playing field. Congress shouldn't enjoy an unfair advantage over the rest of us.
In the coming weeks, we intend to harness the power of our community on behalf of this legislation. Below, we've compiled some of the best information on the Web about this issue.
If you'd like to join this movement, you can do so quickly and easily.
- First, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know that having Congressional members trading on privileged information is not OK with you. We'll keep you up to date on the progress of the STOCK Act and let you know how you can help get it passed.
- Next, add your signature to the petition urging Congress to stop the dilly-dallying and get the STOCK Act passed now!
Coverage of the STOCK Act from The Motley Fool
- The Stock Market Is Fixed, Matt Koppenheffer
- Take Action: Let's Hold House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Accountable (Updated-2), Motley Fool Staff
- Highway Robbery on Capitol Hill, Rich Smith
- Highway Robbery on Capitol Hill, Part Deux, Rich Smith
- Dear Congress: Please Stop Robbing Us, Rich Smith
- The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act: a Tutorial, Rich Smith
- Why Congress Can't Stop Stealing, Rich Smith
- Senators, Act Senatorially -- and Pass the STOCK Act, Rich Smith
- Support Your Local "Sheriff" ... in Supporting the STOCK Act, Rich Smith
- An Open Letter to the Next Speaker of the House, Rich Smith
Coverage from The Wall Street Journal
- How Congress Occupied Wall Street, Sarah Palin
- A Perk of Power: Trading in Companies You Oversee, Jason Zweig
- Congress Members Bet on Fall in Stocks, Jason Zweig, Tom McGinty, and Brody Williams
- The Ron Paul Portfolio, Jason Zweig
- Lawmaker Vows to Outlaw Insider Trading on the Hill, Tom McGinty and Brody Williams
- Congressional Staffers Gain From Trading in Stocks, Brody Mullins, Tom McGinty, and Jason Zweig
- Insider-Trading Bill Backed, Brody Mullins
- Inside Capitol, Investor Access Yields Rich Tips, Brody Mullins and Susan Pulliam
- Lawmakers Lose in Markets, Brody Mullins, Jason Zweig, and Tom McGinty
- Hedge Funds Pay Top Dollar for Washington Intelligence, Brody Mullins and Susan Pulliam
- Congress's Phony Insider-Trading Reform, Jonathan Macey
- Congress: Trading Stock on Inside Information?, 60 Minutes report.
- Insider Trading Laws Do Not Apply to Members of Congress. No, Seriously., Justin Rohrlich, Minyanville.
- What's Eric Cantor Up To Re STOCK Act? Stephen Bainbridge, ProfessorBainbridge.com
- Apply Same "Insider Trading" Restrictions on Members and Staff of Congress, Craig Holman, The Hill's Congress Blog
- Capitol Gains, Megan McArdle, The Atlantic
- The Underwhelming STOCK Act, Megan McArdle, The Atlantic
- Do Members of Congress Use Insider Information? Andrew Eggers and Jens Hainmueller, The Boston Globe
- Members of Congress Must Not Be Allowed to Gain an Edge on the Market, Scott Brown, The Boston Globe
- Senators Introduce "Stock Act" to Stop "Insider Trading" in Congress, Stephanie Condon, CBS News
- Lawmakers' Inside Advantage to Trading, Steve Henn, Marketplace
- Has Congress Been Scared Straight on Insider Trading? John Carney, CNBC
- Senate Panel on Stock for Appointees but Not Itself Seen As Double Standard, Scott Higham, Kimberly Kindy, and Dan Keating, The Washington Post
- Let Members of Congress Trade! M. Todd Henderson and Larry Ribstein, Politico.
- Move to Ban Alleged Insider Trading Faces Pitfalls, Tom Curry, MSNBC
- Bill to Ban Insider Trading in Congress Is Suddenly Popular, Kimberly Kindy, The Washington Post
- Murky Signals for Congress on Insider Trading, Peter Henning, The New York Times
- Did Nancy Pelosi Profit From Visa Stock Purchases? David Grant, The Christian Science Monitor
Versions of the Stock Act:
- Current House version in committee is H.R. 1148.
- Publicly available Senate versions are, respectively, S. 1871 and S. 1903
- Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Alan Ziobrowski et al., Business and Politics.
- Abnormal Returns from the Common Stock Investments of the U.S. Senate, Alan Ziobrowski et al., Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.
- Capitol Losses: The Mediocre Performance of Congressional Stock Portfolios, 2004-2008, Andrew Eggers and Jens Hainmueller.
- Insider Trading, Congressional Officials, and Duties of Entrustment, Donna Nagy.
- Legistorm: http://www.legistorm.com/
- OpenSecrets.org: http://www.opensecrets.org/
- ProCon.org. See the materials on "Insider Trading by Congress": http://insidertrading.procon.org/