Stock Act Sheds Light on Political Intelligence

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act is bringing newfound information to the forefront

(Image: Thinkstock)

The legislation known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or Stock Act, aims to stop insider trading of “political intelligence” from taking place on Capitol Hill and in big business.

It gained momentum last year after a 60 Minutes report exposed several prominent representatives and accused them of insider trading using government information, according to CNN Money.

President Obama rallied around the bill’s passage during last month’s State of the Union address.

But now the bill is stuck, in part due to dissent over a provision that requires “political intelligence professionals” to register and disclose their activities to the government in the same way lobbyists do.

Although this industry has remained under the radar political intelligence is big business, noted the 60 Minutes report. Professionals are paid handsomely to gather information about government policy and pending legislation, often through lawmakers or other public officials.

“Political intelligence firms have increasingly become an issue — they have proliferated — and I think part of the issue here is that until the Stock Act, most Americans didn’t even know about the political intelligence industry,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the progressive watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

A spokeswoman for the Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee said staffers were unsure of when the two congressional chambers would resolve their disagreement and when the Stock Act might be finalized.

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