U.S. Rep Louise Slaughter, D-NY, 28th District, announced a major victory in the House on Thursday, having language she first authored that would end insider trading in Congress pass by a vote of 417 to 2.
Slaughter, ranking member of the House Rules Committee, offered the following comment on her legislation: "At its heart, the STOCK Act is a statement of how we in Congress view ourselves, and our relationship to those we serve. No matter how powerful our position, nor how hallowed the halls we walk, no one should be above the law. With the passage of the STOCK Act, we can move one step closer to living up to the faith and trust bestowed upon us by the American people; the citizens for whom we serve."
The congresswoman pointed out the journey to Thursdays House passage has been a long one and it is not yet complete.
Slaughter has been pushing Majority Leader Eric Cantor for months to bring the STOCK Act to the floor and the version he brought forth had raised eyebrows from Slaughter when it removed a provision that would bring the political intelligence industry under the same regulations as the lobbyists they work beside.
Slaughter said political intelligence is the latest effort by Wall Street and K Street to gain market-moving information from members of Congress and their staffs for the sake of selling it to hedge funds and other financial clients. Because political intelligence operatives don't currently have to register the way lobbyists do, staffers and members of Congress often don't know that information they share is being passed along to the highest bidder. The political intelligence industry has become a $402 million-a-year endeavor lurking in the shadows of Congress, Slaughter said.
She is now pushing strongly for a conference committee made up of members of the House and Senate to work together rectifying the differences between the Senate and House-passed bills. During the conference committee process, she will fight hard to retain her political intelligence provision, which is a part of the bipartisan Senate-passed bill. Slaughter's House bill that included the provision had the support of 99 Republicans.
Commenting Thursday on the House floor, Slaughter said, "When it comes to K Street, it appears that Republican leadership couldn't stomach the pressure from the political intelligence community. After working behind closed doors, the majority removed a major provision that would have held political intelligence operatives to the same standards as lobbyists who come before this Congress. Fortunately, Democrats and Republicans alike are fighting to keep political intelligence as part of the final bill."
Earlier this week, Cantor released a statement praising Slaughter's years of work to end insider trading in Congress, saying, "Members from both sides of the aisle have worked hard on this issue, specifically representatives Tim Walz and Louise Slaughter, and they deserve credit for their efforts to increase transparency and accountability as we take a step to restore the public's trust in the federal government. After years of work, it's about time their efforts resulted in a law."