The STOCK Act: Refuge of the most vulnerable congressmen in America
President Obama signed the so-called STOCK Act on Wednesday surrounded by a veritable who’s who of endangered incumbents.
There was Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), of course, who has the unenviable task of winning reelection as a Republican in Massachusetts. (Brown has been front-and-center on the bill from day one.)
Then there was Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), whose already-perilous district became even more difficult for him to hold thanks to a redistricting plan crafted by Illinois Democrats this year. He’s arguably one of the five most vulnerable House members in the country.
Alongside Dold were Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who has some of the worst approval numbers of any member of Congress, and Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), who won in districts in 2010 that Obama carried with 54 percent and 57 percent, respectively, two years earlier. (The latter two have since gotten some help from redistricting, but remain top targets.)
And really, it’s no surprise that these men would try to attach themselves to the STOCK Act. It’s a stone-cold political winner for an incumbent in a swing district or state.
The bill, which prevents members of Congress from trading stocks on information that the general public doesn’t have amounts to a populist pumpkin pie topped with dollup of anti-Washington whip cream. There’s really no reason to be against it. And that goes double for Republicans trying to win in Democratic-leaning areas.
The reason the signing of the law wasn’t a big deal in the media is because it was such a consensus piece of legislation — it passed with just two ‘no’ votes in the House and three in the Senate. But that doesn’t mean it can’t help a member of Congress make a winning case to his or her constitutuents in November.
For both these members and Obama, it’s a great way to point out that you’re not playing the usual Washington political games, and that you’re willing to rein in perceived abuses in Congress. Look for these members and Obama to regularly use the STOCK Act on the campaign trail.