STOCK Act Scuttled

8:43 PM, Dec 9, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - The Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act, would prohibit Members of Congress and their aids from profiting from inside information they might obtain through their official duties.

Originally authored by New York 28th District Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), it languished on Capitol Hill for six years, never gaining more than 14 co-sponsors.

That was until the issue gained notoriety through a recent 60 Minutes report on congressional insider trading.

Suddenly Slaughter's bill to got 219 co sponsors-- a majority of the house--and a number almost unheard of.

But the House Financial Services Committee, which appeared to be set to fast track the bill, abruptly canceled plans to vote on it.

"We were taken completely by surprise...stunned is more like it," Slaughter told WGRZ-TV.

The bill was pulled at the behest of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The No. 2 House Republican on Thursday defended his request to indefinitely delay a committee vote on the legislation, saying the issue needs to be approached "in a deliberate manner."

"This is an issue of extreme import for the confidence of the public toward this institution," Cantor said on the House floor.

A Cantor spokesman also told politico.com that a large group of bipartisan members of the committee felt the legislation was flawed and being recklessly moved solely in response to media pressure.

"Oh, .. for goodness sakes!" replied Slaughter. "Last week we passed a bill worth hundreds of billions of dollars with a less than a two day layover and no one knew what was in it. This bill has been around for 6 years!"

"If it gets to the Senate floor I would guess it would pass and pass overwhelmingly," said US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), who told 2 On Your Side he supports the STOCK Act.

"People lose trust in the system if they feel their Congressmen or Senators have a greater advantage than they do in making money in any way, so it's unfair and it's wrong and I hope that they will put it on track," Schumer said.

Slaughter has written Cantor, protesting his role in preventing the vote, and hopes public pressure will force him to get the bill back on track. Equally upset is Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz who co-authored Slaughter's bill, and who said, "If this thing doesn't happen, then hepatitis will be more popular than the U.S. Congress."

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 on Your Side reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bob Mancuso.

Click here to read Dave McKinley's blog. 

WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com

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