Tester: STOCK Act brings more accountability to Congress

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.  The Senate overwhelmingly approved a broader version of the STOCK Act earlier this month.  The bill bans members of Congress and their employees from using knowledge gained from their Congressional work for personal financial benefit:

“The STOCK Act makes sure Congress is accountable to the people we serve, not our own bank accounts.  The House bill weakened the Senate bill, but at least it’s a start toward much-needed accountability and transparency in Congress.”

Tester specifically amended the STOCK Act to require financial disclosures filed by members of Congress be made available online. 

The bill also includes a bipartisan amendment that Tester supported to prohibit bonuses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives while the housing agencies remain in conservatorship.  Tester recently sponsored legislation that would return the compensation of senior executives at Fannie and Freddie and put the salaries of those agencies’ employees in line with other federal employees.

The bill passed by the House of Representatives is weaker than the Senate’s bill in two ways:

  • It does not require criminal penalties in some public corruption cases, and 
  • It does not require disclosure requirements for “political intelligence consultants” who collect legislative information through direct contact with lawmakers or aides and sell it to bankers on Wall Street and elsewhere 

Tester introduced an early version of the STOCK Act after media reports raised the possibility of members of Congress using knowledge gained from their work to make business transactions.  The bill now heads to a joint Senate-House panel before being sent to the President.