Great news: Congress unanimously repeals transparency requirement on stock transactions for … Congress; Update: Obama signs bill

posted at 2:01 pm on April 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

We missed this on Friday, but it shouldn’t go unremarked.  More than a year ago, embarrassed by allegations that members of the House and Senate traded on inside information, Congress passed the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which required (among other mandates) transparent reporting on financial transactions.  That supposedly would keep politicians honest, forcing them to refrain from enriching themselves based on privileged information.

Until now, that is:

With little fanfare, the House quickly voted Friday to repeal a financial transparency requirement for senior government officials, which was part of a much-heralded government transparency bill last year.

Members passed S. 716 by unanimous consent, with no debate and no description on the floor about what the bill would do. The Senate passed it in the same fashion on Thursday. …

Among other things, the STOCK Act required roughly 28,000 senior officials to post their financial details online. But that requirement was immediately criticized by these officials, some of whom said it could pose a national security risk.

Congress twice delayed the reporting requirement, and the last delay was due to expire on Monday, April 15. That delay called for a study of the issue by the National Academy of Public Administration to study the requirement further.

On April 1, that group recommended ending the requirement for senior officials.

How did the debate go in both chambers — you know, the debate that politicians insist is needed for regulating the rest of us?  If you blinked, you missed it:

The measure was aimed at amending the STOCK ACT, and neither chamber debated it, according to Yahoo. The law was meant to prevent officials such as lawmakers and their staff from being able to profit from stock trades, using their insider knowledge. If the law was not repealed, than the disclosures were going to start on Monday.

According to NPR, The Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for a more open government, said that Congress failed and that they act broadly. The organization noted that the president and the vice president, as well as members of Congress still have to make their financial closures public. However, they will not have to release such disclosures on the Internet.

So … the IRS can read our e-mails without a warrant, but putting financial disclosures of politicians on Capitol Hill is a national security risk?

Barack Obama has to decide whether to sign the bill, but Congress obviously could still override a veto.  That makes the decision relatively risk-free for the most transparent administration evahTM, but not entirely so.  A veto might raise the profile of this bill high enough to embarrass Congress into ditching it and sticking to the disclosures they so ostentatiously passed a year ago.

Update: Obama signed the bill into law earlier today.  Thanks to Dustin Siggins for the hat-tip.

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…Sigh…

contrarian on April 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Two Worlds.
Or is that classes?

Electrongod on April 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Laws are only for the little people.

22044 on April 15, 2013 at 2:07 PM

It had a transparency requirement?

DC is becoming Mt. Olympus….if it isn’t that already.

hawkeye54 on April 15, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Welcome to The US Banana Republic.

The Rogue Tomato on April 15, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Laws are only for the little people.

To obey. Our demi-gods on Capitol Hill, make them, the WH Amin and bureacracies enforce them to keep us in our place.

hawkeye54 on April 15, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Electrongod on April 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM

The only thing John Edwards got right.

docflash on April 15, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Some animals are more equal than others.

Gatsu on April 15, 2013 at 2:10 PM

I’m going to be popular.

Here is a portion of the statement by The National Academy of Public Administration:

The Panel found that the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act’s online financial disclosure requirement can harm both federal agency missions and employees. The Panel recommended that Congress indefinitely suspend the online posting requirements and the unrestricted access to searchable, sortable, downloadable databases while continuing implementation of other requirements of the STOCK Act. The Panel recommended that the federal government use the suspension period to update and strengthen the 35‑year-old government ethics system.

IlikedAUH2O on April 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM

If it was unanimous I’m sure they had a good reason. There are enough good guys (or at least enough people who want to appear to be good guys) that it wouldn’t have been unanimous if it was really about a desire for less transparency.

vegconservative on April 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM

The rat-eared devil’s election marked the moment when the seas began to recede and the planet began healing itself. Yet for all that, we don’t seem to be able to drain that swamp of corruption in DC. Why do I get the sense that Congress really isn’t trying?

Happy Nomad on April 15, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Here is their full report:

http://www.napawash.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/STOCKactFinal1.pdf

IlikedAUH2O on April 15, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Good gosh! So our elected can pass laws that exempt them from rules they demand from us?

It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if the ‘mother ship’ came and took almost everyone including bho/team off to another planet! We couldn’t do any worse taking a page of a phone book from numerous states and throwing a dart to put the name in dc?
L

letget on April 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Members passed S. 716 by unanimous consent, with no debate and no description on the floor about what the bill would do.

GOP majority.

The Senate passed it in the same fashion on Thursday. …

Democrat majority. Bipartisanship in both houses regarding congressional greed and ethics.

a capella on April 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM

If it was unanimous I’m sure they had a good reason. There are enough good guys (or at least enough people who want to appear to be good guys) that it wouldn’t have been unanimous if it was really about a desire for less transparency.

vegconservative on April 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Perhaps it was one of those knee-jerk feel-good laws that was absolutely unworkable or unenforceable. Going into the elections they got to crow about greater transparency. Now, elections are over.

Happy Nomad on April 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM

“I want to give these types of people more control over my life…especially my children’s and grand-children’s lives! These career politicians are smarter, cooler, and more interesting than me. They are like angels from heaven and can do no wrong. Anyone that thinks differently than me must be a hate-filled racist and bigot. People that go into politics have good intentions and make me feel a lot better about myself!” -Average Dem voter

visions on April 15, 2013 at 2:15 PM

But, but, but Elizabeth Warren was elected to stop these bad bad people

philw1776 on April 15, 2013 at 2:15 PM

This is why you rightists can’t have nice things.
 
chumpThreads on February 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM

rogerb on April 15, 2013 at 2:16 PM

I have been nailed for thanking VP Biden.

Some day when I really want pain for absolutely no advantage to me, I will write about my three Obama eternal gifts to the nation.

IlikedAUH2O on April 15, 2013 at 2:16 PM

BobMbx’s first decree as Emperor of the World:

Legislatures are banned from naming bills. Just use the number.

BobMbx on April 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Barack Obama has to decide whether to sign the bill, but Congress obviously could still override a veto.

Perhaps. But to override a veto, their votes would be recorded, no unanimous consent. Wouldn’t happen without the fig leaf of plausible deniability.

iurockhead on April 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Welcome to The US Banana Republic.

The Rogue Tomato on April 15, 2013 at 2:08 PM

.
Ignore Schoen, who is the Obama worshipper on the panel, and note the unusually frank and open comments from LeBoutillier and Caddel:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/04/14/fncs_political_insiders_our_political_system_is_a_banana_republic.html

FMR. REP. JOHN LEBOUTILLIER (R-NY): David Stockman, who was the director of the OMB under Reagan, has a new book out and in it he calls for any person who served in the legislative branch: Congresspeople, staff people — lifetime ban on lobbying. You can never lobby.

PAT CADDELL: Larry Lessig, who is a professor at Harvard — a very liberal professor — wrote a piece recently describing our political system as a banana republic. This is not an ideological issue, it is a people and American versus the political class and corruption.

And the media, because they participate in it, will say nothing. They don’t really want to get into corruption because, unfortunately, so many of them are corrupt.

###

CADDELL: This is not a minor issue. The corruption going on is affecting every man, woman and child in this country to their detriment. It is hurting our children’s future. It is people who can go and buy access and buy deals.

.
Anecdotally, I am finding more Democrat voters disgusted with our “Live like a billionaire boy king” and the bulk of the MSM which still believes it can tell ANY lie they like and get away with it.

PolAgnostic on April 15, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Who is John Galt?

Deafdog on April 15, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Hey trolls. Care to defend this?

22044 on April 15, 2013 at 2:21 PM

It was very deficient on the part of the founders to have allowed the scumbags and scumhags in the House/senate, and the president, to exempt themselves from any laws which they push upon those who pay for all their whims.

Schadenfreude on April 15, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Also, may they all go to Hades!!!

Schadenfreude on April 15, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Bipartisanship in both houses regarding congressional greed and ethics.

a capella on April 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Congressional pay raises are nearly unanimous….by never bringing a bill to the floor to stop the automatic raise each year.

BobMbx on April 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM

But, but, but Elizabeth Warren was elected to stop these bad bad people

philw1776 on April 15, 2013 at 2:15 PM

She’s busy writing paychecks to her interns, for $22/hour.

Oh wait.

She doesn’t pay them?

22044 on April 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM

The Ruling Class continues to rule…

d1carter on April 15, 2013 at 2:26 PM

There is a very simple remedy available to everyone with half a brain, and Karl Denninger screams it from the rooftops in his Market Ticker blog: STOP TRADING ON STOCK MARKET! It is a crooked game with lots of crooked players (of whom most are computers) and even more crooked referees. Unless you are a professional and/or have plenty of money to spare, cash out your private holdings and move your retirement money into a fixed-percentage fund. Let sharks eat other sharks; the fact that Congresscritters and Senators skim a few hundred millions here and there will not affect your money directly.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Congressional pay raises are nearly unanimous….by never bringing a bill to the floor to stop the automatic raise each year.

BobMbx on April 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Wait there’s more. When one house puts a freeze on a raise or increases pay, and the bill goes to conference between both houses, the matter is not brought up. Status quo, pay increase—-shazaam.

arnold ziffel on April 15, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Obama is Caesar – the fall of the American Empire is near.

Obama was part of the era of American history known as the Progressive Period, but by his day, a few memorable leaders, not restricted to one class or another, had taken control, defying custom and law, making a mockery of the Republican political institutions.

Obama didn’t just survive, but prospered. He gained power by making alliances with powerful men. He curried favor with the people through his generosity. Amnesty, Gun Control and Higher taxes led to the downfall of Obama. But by then it was too late. The Republic would not survive to ever see a Republican President again.

redguy on April 15, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Now we know who is working for whom…

d1carter on April 15, 2013 at 2:31 PM

so…is this another bill that was passed before anybody bothered to read it?

workingclass artist on April 15, 2013 at 2:33 PM

That supposedly would keep politicians honest, forcing them to refrain from enriching themselves based on privileged information.

LOL. Congresscritters’ (and their staffs’!) inside trading was already covered by law. Congresscritters are more “inside” than anyone else could possibly be. The dirtbags could have been charged with any number of violations. The transparency act was a joke, itself.

Good to see that the Weeping Boner has important things to take care of, though – pass a BS bill and then repeal it.

I want my national divorce … NOW!!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 15, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Tired of these scum. Professional politicians should only be allowed to act out their “jobs” in tents with makeup and big shoes.

djtnt on April 15, 2013 at 2:37 PM

The Ruling Class continues to rule…

d1carter on April 15, 2013 at 2:26 PM

There ain’t gonna be much left to rule for very long.

Doughboy on April 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

So the next time the SEC comes calling, I can just tell them to go pound sand and cite this law? ‘Cuz, you know, 14th amendment equal protection and all…

Nutstuyu on April 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

IlikedAUH2O on April 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Soo… When they write bad laws that affect themselves they’re all too quick to rectify the problem.

But for us peons? We have to go to the courts and spend gajillion a of dollars to affect bad laws that they turn around and then use to line their pockets with an use to find campaigns against us. And now… Will again…

I’m sure they’ll get right on that new ethics legislation…

I’m all for the rule of law… But this government is not.

Skywise on April 15, 2013 at 2:46 PM

…suckers.

equanimous on April 15, 2013 at 2:48 PM

I care not that it was unanimous, this is bogus.

How about a law “Congress shall pass no laws from which members of congress are exempt” THAT should be unanimous.

Jackalope on April 15, 2013 at 2:52 PM

People, it’s just a matter of time before we are allowed this information so let them think they’re flying under the radar. This isn’t simply an innate feeling or assumption, these people will be exposed pre 2014 midterms and will encompass Dems as well as a healthy sampling of Pugs. We wont get amounts or balances but simply confirmation folks are getting fat off of insider trading using our tax dollars. And you political stakeholders thought you had some free ride? Yeah, keep thinking it while we continue to follow the paper trail.

Tangerinesong on April 15, 2013 at 2:53 PM

The Ruling Class continues to rule…

d1carter on April 15, 2013 at 2:26 PM

There ain’t gonna be much left to rule for very long.

No worries. They have all the plans for dividing our Republic into their own little fiefdoms to rule and all the feudal lords overseeing them to answer to and serve the Imperial Government in DC.

hawkeye54 on April 15, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Wonder if dc has voted to exempt them from the ‘could be’ bho’s plan to take the ira’s/401k’s from us common folk? It probably is in the works if the bill is passed?
L

letget on April 15, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Government corruption, plain and simple! The passage of this bill proves that the majority of our politicians at the federal level are crooked!

FloatingRock on April 15, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Obama is a Swine in Chief, with deep apologies to the clean pigs.

Schadenfreude on April 15, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Media, suffocate from Obama’s shit. It ain’t Beluga caviar. I hope you all chocke from what you consume, you fools.

Schadenfreude on April 15, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Maybe SWalker wasn’t that far off.

LegendHasIt on April 15, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Who said bipartisanship was dead?

myiq2xu on April 15, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Maybe SWalker wasn’t that far off.

LegendHasIt on April 15, 2013 at 3:02 PM

He was too kind.

Midas on April 15, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Let it burn.

Polish Rifle on April 15, 2013 at 3:25 PM

yeap. and people still wonder why these gov buffoons want to take our guns.

unseen on April 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM

LET THEM EAT CAKE….they said. VOte all of them out DEM AND GOP they are nothing but thieves stealing us blind.

unseen on April 15, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Tar. Feathers. Street lights.

When is “enough”? When should citizens stop these people in restaurants, train stations, and on the street and demand answers? Record high taxes are being collected this year. The Obama cabal pushed through the largest tax increase in the history of the human species, in between golf trips to Florida and Congressional junkets to Bali.

Chelsea Clinton just paid $10 million in cash for an apartment in Manhattan. Where did Chelsea Clinton get $10 million, when she’s never held a job? Charlie Rangel bought a Dominican house at Punta Cana, and never paid taxes on the rental income, but where did he get the money to buy the house in the first place? Where did Chris Dodd get the money for his Irish estate?

You can go on and on….it’s time to fight back. Tar. Feathers. Street lights.

MTF on April 15, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Maybe SWalker wasn’t that far off.

LegendHasIt on April 15, 2013 at 3:02 PM

No he wasn’t, and I’m not exactly his biggest fan. If he hadn’t made such a pain of himself to AP, he’d still be around, because a lot more people are insinuating if not saying the same things.

MelonCollie on April 15, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Are there STILL any doubts about the criminal intentions of our ‘ruling class’? They don’t want the peons to know about their business, while insisting that it’s CRITICALfor them to know everything about us.

Their goals are to decimate the middle class, disarm the citizens and impose an oppressive level of tyranny on us as they live their lives of luxury.

xmanvietnam on April 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM

We have got to clean out that nest of snakes!!!!! Being from GA, both of our RINO senators are a disgrace to Conservatism. Chambliss has decided not to run because he knows he would be defeated. Snakes!

ultracon on April 15, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Do not question, the Ruling Class. Ever.

FlaMurph on April 15, 2013 at 6:54 PM

They want their separate insurance program & they don’t want full disclosure on their investment practices. President Barry agrees. Good for me, but not for thee.

RdLake on April 15, 2013 at 8:09 PM

this is just BS.

un-elect them all.

losarkos on April 15, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Welcome to The US Banana Republic.

The Rogue Tomato on April 15, 2013 at 2:08 PM

correct

un-elect them all.

losarkos on April 15, 2013 at 8:41 PM

The only hope.

Sadly, this was the call when the original Tea Party movement started. These DC vampires moved in to corral that movement by playing the songs the Tea Party wanted to hear, and since have stabbed folk in the back.

I remember a father of a young man killed in the war, asked by a reporter what could we do about this nation. Father replied: throw them all out of office. He was so right.

It has to end soon, or there will be no recourse

entagor on April 15, 2013 at 8:54 PM

GD criminals, every one of them. Both sides. The federal government has turned into a money making, criminal powerhouse. Not a single one of them cares about American citizens, they only care about making themselves richer and more powerful. They are all 1%’ers and I would personally like to make a citizens arrest on every single one of them.

F_This on April 15, 2013 at 8:55 PM

The only thing necessary for politicians to flourish is for good Americans to do nothing.

Fazman on April 15, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Go Galt. And don’t come back.

Let them rule over illegal aliens since they love them so much.

platypus on April 15, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Not every member of congress is a scum-sucking Democrat…what are we missing about this story?

Jaibones on April 16, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Ahhhh…everything is back to normal — they can now go back to engaging in Illegal Insider Trading. (This actually took longer than I thought it would…)

easyt65 on April 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

“Your winnings, Captain Renault. Don’t look so shocked, shocked!”

cbenoistd on April 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM