Majority Leader Eric Cantor plans to ask the U.S. House to bar members of Congress from receiving special access to initial public stock offerings, a proposal aimed at Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a House Republican leadership aide said.
Republicans also may try to amend a Senate-passed congressional insider trading bill, S. 2038, to require almost 30,000 executive-branch employees to report more details about their personal finances, the aide said.
The legislation would bar members of Congress, their staff and executive-branch officials from trading stocks, commodities or futures based on non-public information they learn on the job. Though members of Congress and their staffs aren’t exempt from federal insider-trading laws, the U.S. Constitution’s protection of members’ “speech and debate” may make it difficult to investigate potential violations under current law.
Proposed changes to the legislation will be considered Feb. 9, Cantor has said. The amendment and the bill may be offered using a procedure that requires a two-thirds vote, so Democratic support would be needed for passage.
“We look forward to reviewing the text of the bill Leader Cantor is writing in secret,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman,
said in an e-mail today.
The proposed IPO language would bar members of Congress, executive branch officials and staff from “receiving special access to initial public offerings because of their position,” the aide said.
It was written in response to the CBS program 60 Minutes, which reported in November that Pelosi, a California Democrat, bought shares of Visa Inc. in a 2008 IPO, as the House was considering legislation on credit card companies.
Pelosi has said she did nothing wrong. Her office has said she had no special access and that her husband purchased 5,000 shares on a date when 406 million were sold.
Those government employees, as well as workers in independent federal agencies, would have 30 days to publicly disclose their trades.
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