A bill on insider trading among members of Congress will receive a vote in the House next year, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said.
“We’re looking at trying to do something in the first couple of months of next year to try and address the situation and take care of it once and for all, that the public understands we get it, that we’re not here to promote anyone’s personal enrichment; we’re here out of the trust the people place in us,” Cantor said in an interview with CBS’ Lesley Stahl.
The House majority leader, who earlier this month moved to postpone a scheduled vote on the legislation by the House Financial Services Committee, told Stahl that the delay was intended not to scuttle the legislation but rather to give lawmakers time to expand it.
“We want to make sure that the public understands we abhor that kind of conduct,” Cantor said. “We’re going to build on the STOCK Act and bring forward a measure that actually deals with all of it, so we can take care of any suggestion that a member of Congress somehow uses his or her official position to affect their own personal enrichment.”
Asked how exactly the legislation might be expanded, Cantor did not go into detail.
“I think that you can look at examples across the country at any various levels of government, where unfortunately there’s some bad actors, and they’ve engaged in taking and seizing upon information they have and acting on it – and that means whether they’re buying stock or whether they are buying land allegedly on inside information that they feel they can profit from that no one else can,” he said.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, was first introduced in 2006 but languished in Congress for years until a “60 Minutes” special last month detailing lawmakers’ financial dealings suddenly revived interest in the measure.
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved a version of the bill last week, but the full Senate is not expected to act before next year.
On the House side, the financial services panel debated the legislation – which now has more than 200 co-sponsors -- but has not yet passed it out of committee. The version considered by the panel was authored by Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), who penned a letter to Cantor expressing “deep concern” about leadership’s move to delay work on the bill.
“While we strongly support efforts to strengthen and improve the STOCK Act, those efforts should not be an excuse to hold this legislation hostage,” Slaughter and Walz wrote.
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the financial services committee chairman, has also introduced his own legislation aimed at blocking “insider trading” by lawmakers. Bachus was one of several House members including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) whose financial dealings were scrutinized in the “60 Minutes” special.