Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) criticized House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) for substituting a watered-down version of the STOCK Act in place of the strong version passed by the Senate last week. Nevertheless, CREW called on members to vote for passage of the bill and demanded an open conference where the bill can be repaired.
“Rep. Cantor has opposed the STOCK Act from the start and his bill reflects that,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “The majority leader is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He is trying to take credit for finally responding to an issue that has outraged Americans, while behind closed doors he has taken the side of Wall Street and neutered the tough Senate bill.”
CREW strongly supported the Senate approved version of the STOCK Act (S. 2038) passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 96 to 3. S. 2038 goes well beyond merely prohibiting insider trading by, among other things, requiring registration by political intelligence consultants, stripping pension benefits from corrupt members of Congress and closing serious loopholes in the nation’s anti-corruption laws.
The bill Rep. Cantor is bringing to the floor removes several of these provisions. Although the House Judiciary Committee passed nearly identical legislation late last year, the new bill drops the Leahy-Cornyn amendment, which responds to court decisions that have undermined prosecutors’ efforts to target public corruption. It also excludes the Grassley Amendment, which would require political intelligence consultants to register with Congress.
“The majority leader is cynically counting on the fact that no member of Congress can afford to vote against legislation that purportedly combats congressional misconduct, toothless as it may be,” said Ms. Sloan. “Rep. Cantor isn’t serious about targeting congressional corruption; he just wants ammunition for campaign ads. Members serious about addressing corruption should not play into Rep. Cantor’s hands. Despite this chicanery, the House should pass the bill and send it to conference where the stripped provisions can be restored before final passage.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.