By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery released a press release announcing that she and the entire Alabama Congressional delegation had voted for passage of the STOCK Act. The STOCK Act prevents members of Congress, their staff, and officials in the executive branch from using information they gain in their duties as government officials for their own personal advantage in the financial markets.
In her press release Representative Roby said, “The genesis of the STOCK Act was a desire to ensure that Members of Congress and other high ranking government officials cannot personally profit from trading securities based on insider information. Most people agree that current law already prohibits that practice, but I fully support efforts to clarify the law and promote transparency and accountability in Congress. The guiding principle is that government officials should play by the same rules as everyone else, and I think certain provisions of the STOCK Act would reinforce that concept in law. I was pleased to vote in favor of these provisions today.”
The book “Throw Them All Out,” by Peter Schweizer revealed shocking allegations that members of Congress from both parties had profited from knowledge gained in performance of their congressional duties and that ‘insider trading’ by members of Congress was arguably legal. The CBS News program, ’60 Minutes’ then aired an episode based on Schweizer’s work. Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown then introduced the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) in the Senate. Sen. Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama added an amendment to the bill that would hold members of the executive branch to the same ethical and reporting standards as members of Congress and their aides. The House version of the bill was written by Rep. Tim Walz (D) from Minnesota who had been trying to pass this legislation for five years.
While expressing concerns about the amount of paperwork involved in the details of the act, Rep. Roby supports the broader goal of the bill so voted for it: ““Our highest priority must be to restore honesty and accountability to Congress, and I supported the STOCK Act today so that the insider trading prohibition may move forward in the legislative process. As it does, I hope that provisions creating this onerous reporting requirement are improved. I look forward to evaluating the final version of the bill.”
The STOCK Act passed by an overwhelming bipartisan margin in the House of 417 to 2. Sen. Shelby’s amendment was included in both the House and Senate versions. Both versions will likely go to a conference committee which will attempt to reconvile the differences between the House and Senate. All seven members of Alabama’s congressional delegation voted for the bill.
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She has no opponent in the March 13th Republican Primary, but faces a Democratic opponent in the General Election on November 6th. This is Rep. Roby’s first term in the U.S. Congress.
To read Roby’s press release: