A milestone for Congressman Walz

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 14, 2012 - 6:05 PM
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ranger78Apr. 14, 12 8:51 AM

We have a lot of problems. Let's not get too excited about a minor piece of legislation that was signed into law.

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HendrayApr. 14, 1210:14 AM

The federal pol exemption from insider trading laws is a longstanding and remarkable scandal, under-reported and largely unknown. How do you think so many career politicians end up wealthy? Not on their salaries. This article is thin on facts - like a detail or two on the actual law, and what the vote counts were? Jill Burcum opines that the law "could have had more teeth." And descriptors like "symbolic" and "starting step" indicate to me that there's a lot more to be done here, by news reporters and by Congress.

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mn_cameraApr. 14, 1211:20 AM

@ Hendray: Starting somewhere is still a good idea.

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usmc1127Apr. 14, 1211:12 PM

What's sad to me is that this law needed to be written in the first place. Insider trading was already illegal, for everyone else. WHY were politicians allowed to continue doing it while Martha Stewart sat in prison for it?

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hawkeye56379Apr. 15, 12 2:37 PM

This type of "insider trading" is not the same as the existing law. That applies to highly placed officers of a publicly-traded company using information about the company to invest. This new law involves trading on Congressional information about new laws. So, it was necessary to pass a new law because the members of Congress were not "insiders" of a particular company.

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pumiceApr. 15, 12 7:25 PM

Re: "The federal pol exemption from insider trading laws is a longstanding and remarkable scandal, under-reported and largely unknown." Exactly, Hendray! Which is why the Fourth Estate is so valuable. Too many print and broadcast news outlets are owned by too few media moguls. We should all be grateful to 60 Minutes for bringing this under-reported scandal to the fore. We should be even more grateful to Rep. Louise Slaughter whose efforts preceded the 60 Minutes report. She first introduced the Stock Act in 2006 and again in 2009. She was joined this Session by Rep. Walz who prodded Spkr. Boehner and Leader Cantor to bring the Bill, which after the 60 Minutes exposé attracted 271 eager sponsors, up for a vote.

The US Chamber of Commerce and the Managed Funds ("strategic partners" of which include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, UBS and Barclay’s Capital) lobbied against the House's regulatory legislation, expressing particular concern about "the regulation of the political intelligence industry."

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HendrayApr. 16, 12 8:14 AM

pumice, so we agree that federal pols should be subject to more than mere disciplinary slaps on the wrist when they trade on non-public info. And yes, the fourth estate should play a large part in publicizing the issue - scandalous that they haven't done more. 60 Minutes finally decided to act when they had some high profile Republicans to place front and center in their broadcast. Arbitrary timing? Hah! Oh well, if that's what it takes to air a report, so be it. The issue transcends party politics, and deserves more coverage by the press - and more explicit and severe laws. If the press and we the people don't hold Congress' feet to the fire, it ain't gonna happen.

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HendrayApr. 16, 12 8:29 AM

hawkeye56379, your point about congressional vs. corporate knowledge is fair, but off the main point. You don't need to be a corporate insider to run afoul of insider trading laws. Congress has long enjoyed a virtual exemption from such laws, and they need to be treated just like the rest of us when it comes to stock trading on non-public knowledge, whether it's governmental or corporate. They can still get rich off real estate deals (e.g., Dennis Hastert, Harry Reid) - that's another matter. Sigh.

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hawkeye56379Apr. 16, 12 1:36 PM

Hendray: I agree that the new law is needed and is a positive development(notice my earlier comment that it was necessary). I was just pointing out to those who asked why the existing law couldn't be used against members of Congress that they didn't meet the definitions in the existing law.

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