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President Obama Praises Slaughter for Her Work to End Insider Trading in Congress as he Signs STOCK Act into Law

April 7, 2012

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) celebrated a major legislative accomplishment as President Barack Obama praised her six years of work to outlaw insider trading in Congress. Today as he signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act into law at the White House he said,

“I want to recognize Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and wish her a speedy recovery. She broke her leg yesterday so she can’t be here in person. I think she’ll be okay. She first introduced the STOCK Act in 2006 and I know how proud she is to see this bill that she championed finally become law.”

“Today marks a milestone in this country’s long fight to become a more perfect union,” said Slaughter. “I am so proud that after six years of hard work and effort, we can finally assure the American people that we are not profiting from information we learn in our pursuit to represent them. They have placed their trust in the 535 of us who have the honor of serving as their representatives in Congress. Today with the STOCK Act becoming law, we made clear that we are not above the law. This was certainly a long and turbulent debate but, it becomes more and more clear to me that these are the fights worth taking on, even when no one else will.”

A full history of Slaughter’s work to end insider trading in Congress is included below.

This is by no means the first time Slaughter has worked to clean up Washington having authored a groundbreaking report in 2006, “American for Sale: the Cost of Republican Corruption,” the most comprehensive account to date of the ways in which the democratic process and the public good have been undermined by corrupt legislators. At the same time, she led the charge for new Congressional ethics rules when Democrats took control of the House and Senate.

Building on the progress of the STOCK Act, Slaughter has already begun the fight for further reforms having introduced legislation along with Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01) that would specifically address the political intelligence industry and public corruption prosecution improvements that were left out of the STOCK Act signed today by the President.

Timeline of Slaughter’s Work to Pass the STOCK Act

March 28, 2006 – Slaughter along with Rep. Brian Baird (WA-3) first introduced the STOCK Act. In that 109th Congress, the bill received 14 co-sponsors. Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that Tony Rudy, Chief of Staff to then House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, “bought and sold hundreds of stocks from his computer in the U.S. Capitol in 1999 and 2000, according to financial-disclosure forms and other DeLay aides.” The STOCK Act was reintroduced by Baird and Slaughter again in 2007 and 2009, never gaining more than 10 co-sponsors.

March 17, 2011 – Slaughter reintroduces the STOCK Act into the 112th Congress with Rep. Tim Walz (MN-01). It is supported by good government groups Common Cause, CREW, Democracy 21, Public Citizen and US PIRG.

November 13, 2011 - 60 Minutes ran a story pointing out the problem of insider trading in Congress. Prior to the piece, the bill had 9 co-sponsors. The next day, the STOCK Act began an explosion of support. Slaughter said recently, “In my 20 years here, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

November 15, 2011 – A Senate counterpart to the STOCK Act is introduced for the first time by Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). Two days later, Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a second version of the STOCK Act in the Senate. The bills are later combined.

December 1, 2011 - The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a hearing on the STOCK Act

December 6, 2011 – The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on the STOCK Act where Slaughter and Walz testify. Chairman Bachus schedules a markup of the bill for December 14.

December 7, 2011 – Politico reports that the markup scheduled in the Financial Services Committee is postponed under pressure from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

December 8, 2011 – Slaughter and Walz’s STOCK Act receives the overwhelming support of a majority of the House of Representatives. More than 218 members (the number needed to pass the bill under regular order), co-sponsor the bill.

December 17, 2011 – With pressure mounting, Majority Leader Cantor tells CBS he will take up the STOCK Act.

December 20, 2011 – The Wall Street Journal reported on dozens of meetings set up by political intelligence firms with their clients and lawmakers, giving hedge funds and other financial institutions access to privileged information that made them untold sums of money. Slaughter and Walz say this is further evidence that transparency is needed in the political intelligence industry.

January 24, 2012 – President Obama says in his State of the Union, “Send me a bill that bans insider trading by Members of Congress, and I will sign it tomorrow.”

February 1, 2012 – Slaughter and Walz introduce a discharge petition that would bring their STOCK Act up for a vote on the House floor. In the first day it is signed by 115 Members of Congress. In total 171 Members signed the discharge petition.

February 2, 2012 – The Senate passes their version of the STOCK Act by a vote of 96-3. It includes an amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that includes language from Slaughter’s bill regulating the political intelligence industry.

February, 6, 2012 – As Slaughter and Walz continue to pressure Cantor for a vote on the STOCK Act, it was clear that he would write his own version of the bill. He never consults the bill’s original authors. Meanwhile Slaughter’s bill gains the support of 286 co-sponsors including 99 Republicans.

February 7, 2012 - At 10:30 pm, Cantor’s office finally releases text of his changes to the Senate-passed bill to be voted on by the House and makes clear that he will bring it to a vote using a procedure that does not allow for amendments or changes. Slaughter says repeatedly that this version of the bill is weakened. It does not include her provision to regulate the $402 million a year political intelligence industry.

February 8, 2012 – Slaughter and Walz react to the weakened version of the House bill. Slaughter tells reporters in the Capitol, “Our job here is never done. That’s the beauty of a legislature, you’re never truly defeated until you stop trying and I don’t give up so easily.” Meanwhile Cantor releases a statement praising Slaughter’s years of work on this issue.

February 9, 2012 – The STOCK Act passes the House by an overwhelming vote of 417-2. Slaughter vows to fight for a conference committee to make the bill that will be sent to President Obama even stronger.

March 6, 2012 – Slaughter writes to House and Senate leadership urging them to move forward with a conference committee so that the two bills passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate can be reconciled and move forward to be signed into law.

March 22, 2012 – The Senate adopts the House-passed language of the STOCK Act by a vote of 96-3 sending the bill to President Obama for his signature.

April 4, 2012 – President Obama signs the STOCK Act into law saying Slaughter, “first introduced the STOCK Act in 2006 and I know how proud she is to see this bill that she championed finally become law.”

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