Sunday, June 27, 2021

Bill To Fix Congress Stock Problem

Congress seems to confirm Suspicious that Rules don't apply to their Elected Leaders. That goes double when it comes to Money matters. Nothing is more important then holding the Country's Politicians to the Highest Standards of Financial Propriety. Up to now, Lawmakers efforts to police themselves have Failed.

In 2012, after a series of Stock related Scandals, Congress passed a Law designed to Prevent Members from using their Privileged Positions to Gain an edge in the Stock Market.

In theory, the Stock Act would Block them from Trding based on Nonpublic Information acquired from their Official Duties and Require them to Report their Trades within 45 Days.

Almost 10 years later, it's clear that the Law hasn't worked. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ, 7th District) admitted he Failed to disclose $3.2 Million in Trades in the Stocks of Medical and Tech Companies involved in the Pandemic Responce.

The DOJ investigated Four Senators in connection with Stock Sales made after they had received National Security Briefings in the early days of the Pandemic. The Probes were Closed without Charges, leaving the perception that Lawmakers were Protecting their Stock Portfolios while the Public was largely in the dark about the looming Crisis.

Not a single Lawmaker has been Prosecutes under the Stock Act. Was it Toothless by design? It allows Legislators to Trade Stocks in Industries they Oversee. Its Standard for Wrong doing, using Nonpublic Information, for Private Profit, is almost impossible to Enforse.

Congress should Scrap it and Replace it with one that would be Simppler and more Effective. Legislators shouldn't Trade Stocks.

A Bipartisam Bill in the House, called the TRUST in Congress Act (H.R.336), would Require Legislators, their Spouse and Dependent Children, to place their Stock Holdings into a Blind Trust that only a Third Party could gain Access to during the lawmaker's time in Office.

The Ececutive Branch already has a Similar Standard.

Simply Requiring Legislators to divest All their Holdings of Equities would be a Strong Defence. But Blind Trusts don't solve evey Conflict-of-Interest problem. Too much ndepends on what Blind turns out to mean in proactice.

Even the Strictest Measure would leave Opportunities for the Unscrupulous to Exploit. The danger of Conflict-of-Interest can be mitigrated, but never entirely removed.

Passing the TRUST in Congress Act is the Minimum that's Required.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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