STOCK Act Passes in Senate, Despite Accusations of Hypocrisy Against Gillibrand
State Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) said that passing a bill that would outlaw congressional insider trading is a crucial move to regain the public's confidence in the government. The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act sailed through a Senate vote earlier today, with a vote of 96-3.
"I believe in the power of transparency," Gillibrand said. "When we open up our government and hold our elected officials accountable, we can get to the real business at hand."
Though the legislation had widespread support on both sides of the aisle, the STOCK act was criticized by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) and his GOP colleagues. Cantor has said he wanted to see the legislation expanded to include mandatory disclosure of land deals (instead of just stock trades), and extend the bill's reach to members of the executive branch. But Gillibrand said that the bill is directed towards lawmakers in Congress, as well as their staffs and families.
"If he wants to amend it in any way, make it wider and stronger in any way, then God bless him," Gilllibrand said of her colleague in the House. According to the Hill, Democrats in the House had hoped that Cantor's stalling will be perceived as resistance to the popular bill. But earlier this week, State GOP Chairman Ed Cox released a statement alleging that Gillibrand's fight for the STOCK Act is laden with hypocrisy. The chairman claims that Gillibrand and her husband shorted housing stocks at least 34 times, while she was privy to non-public information as a member of Congress:
"Ms. Gillibrand needs to finally answer whether what she learned in Congress about the imminent collapse of the market had anything to do with her husband shorting housing stocks," Cox said in the release. "In purporting to be a champion of insider trading reform - in a fundraising appeal no less - Ms. Gillibrand may be being too cute by half. This may not pass the smell test."
Gillibrand said that she has always governed by the standards promoted in the STOCK Act. The senator was the first member of Congress to post her official daily schedule, all federal earmark requests, and her personal financial report online.