By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R) from AL introduced an amendment to the STOCK Act requiring members of the executive branch to meet the same public reporting requirements that the bill places on Congressmen and their staffs. Senator Shelby supports the STOCK Act but his amendment would expand it to many officers of the executive branch as well.
Sen. Shelby said, ““The bill we are currently debating will subject Congress to additional reporting requirements for certain financial transactions. The goal is to ensure that Members of Congress and congressional staff are not using their unique access to confidential information for personal gain. This is an appropriate goal and one that I fully support.” “Currently, less than one percent of the executive branch workforce is required to file financial disclosure statements. My parity amendment will not expand that universe; it will only require them to meet the same reporting standards that will apply to the legislature.”
Sen. Shelby Continued, “Mr. President, this is not fair and unacceptable. My amendment simply says that if you are an executive branch or independent agency official and you currently file financial disclosure reports, you will have to comply with the same public reporting requirements contained in this bill. My amendment also contains the same military personnel exemption that the Democrat alternative does, as well as the same two-year implementation provision.
“As I understand it, the Democrat alternative to my amendment would produce some bizarre results. For example, a Senate office administrator who meets the reporting threshold would be required to report publicly as directed in this bill, but the Head of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission would not. A Senate scheduler may have to make additional public disclosures, but the General Counsel of the Fed would not,” Shelby said.
Sen. Shelby’s amendment requires securities trades and financial disclosure statements for about 300,000 executive branch employees to be published online. Senator Shelby’s amendment passed in the Senate by 58 to 41.
The STOCK Act (Shelby’s amendment included) passed in the Senate by a margin of 96 to 3. The STOCK Act (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act) was introduced by Sen. Scott Brown (R) from Massachusetts following the publishing of a book by Peter Schweizer’s book, ‘Throw Them All Out’, about alleged insider trading by members of Congress and subsequent story by the CBS News Program ’60 Minutes’.
The STOCK Act still has to pass the U.S. House of Representatives and any differences in the House and Senate versions have to be resolved in a conference committee before it can reach President Barack Obama’s desk. The vote in the House could come as early as today. President Barack H. Obama has said that he will sign the bill.
Senator Richard Shelby is the Ranking Republican on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and has represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate since 1986.