Not-so-extreme makeover

Insider training bill window-dresses Congress' battered image

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“The numbers of people who have a favorable impression of this body are so low that we’re down to close relatives and paid staff. And I’m not so sure about the paid staff.”

– Sen. Joe Lieberman, Independent, Conn.

The good senator is right. This may be the worst Congress in the history of the United States.

Indeed, Congress’ approval rating hovers around 11 percent.

So, since many of the members are seeking re-election this year, they want to do something to make themselves look better.

But instead of, oh, balancing the budget – or, in the case of the Senate, just passing one for the first time in three years – Congress is passing a bill that essentially says they’ll not act like financial criminals anymore.

Wow, what a sweet gesture!

When it became public knowledge recently in a 60 Minutes exposé that prominent members of Congress may be guilty of insider trading – using inside information that they get in the course of their jobs to make money in the stock market – most of us couldn’t believe that that wasn’t already against the law. Well, it is, though no one in memory has been charged.

Thus, while largely symbolic, the bill to make insider trading by members of Congress a crime sailed through the Senate this week.

“A rare instance of bipartisanship” is how the Associated Press termed the bill.

“The legislation,” writes the AP, “would require disclosure of new stock transactions on the Internet within 30 days and explicitly prohibit members of Congress from initiating trades based on non-public information they acquired in their official capacity.” It also “would prohibit lawmakers from tipping off family members or others about non-public information that could influence a stock’s price.”

A House bill also would cover real estate and non-stock transactions.

President Obama has promised to sign such a bill.

Of course, our friends in Washington may find it easier to influence stock prices than their approval ratings.

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Riverman1 02/03/12 - 05:17 am
Kind of the local equivalent

Kind of the local equivalent of our politicians buying up land where the new road is going.

seenitB4 02/03/12 - 07:32 am
And if they didn't buy the

And if they didn't buy the land their kin folks would..

TParty 02/03/12 - 08:31 am
The STOCK Act has passed the

The STOCK Act has passed the Senate pretty quickly- a 97-3 vote in support of it. I have not read it, but I am going to say that this bill doesn't really fix anything- just something to make it seem like Congress actually did some work. The corruption will continue.

allhans 02/03/12 - 10:15 am
It's not hard to figure out

It's not hard to figure out why politicians have more when they leave office than they had before. Pick any former commissioner and check him/her out.

faithson 02/03/12 - 01:20 pm
Reminds me of the 'Charles

Reminds me of the 'Charles Walker' syndrome here in the CSRA. I watched for two decades the corruption he created within his sphere of influence. Everyone knew, and I mean EVERYONE downtown knew he was a crook, but because the money was so good (especially since it was only government money), they turned a blind eye. Judges recuse themselves from a case because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality. How can we not apply the same standard to our legislators ?

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