“There's been a lot of talk about fairness over the last several months, certainly as the political campaign heats up. I can tell you there is a sense among people in this country that they don't have a fair shot when they see things that have transpired. Whether it is with their investments in the financial services community, at all levels of government, they are beginning to hear stories about potential conflict of interest on the part of the people that they elect to represent them.
“That's why I'm here today, to say that it is unacceptable for anyone, any Member of Congress, anybody affiliated with this level of government or any other, to profit from insider information or from information that is not available to the public. Period. Because there is this sense out there of untoward behavior, people of this country need to know that Members of Congress are living under the same rules that they are.
“I am glad to see that the Senate is taking up the STOCK Act. I hope that they will take the opportunity this week to strengthen the bill, to expand the bill, and to make sure it works. Depending on what the Senate does, if the Senate produces a bill that we believe is strengthened and something that is workable, that certainly will be something well received by the House. If it does not, it is my intention to move a bill - to bring a bill to the floor in February - that does accomplish the goal of ensuring the public that they have can have confidence that their elected representatives and their voices in Washington are not using their positions to personally profit. So with that I'll be glad to answer some questions.”
Q & A:
”I can tell you first off, the bill does not adequately cover those connected with the federal government in the Executive Branch - that are in positions with access and are privy to information that could be used to personally benefit those individuals. We are looking at ways that hopefully the Senate can work on that language and strengthen the language so the same rules apply to the Executive Branch personnel that have access to that type of information.”
“I have begun to read the book that I think gave rise to some of the broadcast on this issue. Certainly, I think that there is activity that exists that could be characterized in a negative light and lend itself to the public believing that their elected representatives are operating in a way that benefits themselves. So if that's the case, I think we need to make darn sure that people across this country know that Members of Congress and others are not using information that they gained because of their position for personal gain. Again, that's what I would say to the people who may say this is not a necessary vote. So, let’s make it clear, let’s make it the law that there will be and is no insider trading going on, or trading on information for personal gain.”
“I think that the Senate bill, if you look at the Manager's Amendment, the language speaks to the potential misuse of that kind of information and untoward activity on the part of, not Members of Congress, but others that are in the business of monitoring Washington. I think that in advocating - in putting forth a directive to get underneath that kind of activity - to really begin to determine what it is, is something that is helpful. All this should be geared to ensure the public that the trust that they put in Washington is not being violated.”
“One of the things is to make sure that the public is aware of what goes on. If you read some of these books and the one in particular, it talks about the lack of timeliness of disclosure. I have always been one for - whatever the subject - to make sure the public is enjoying its right to know. If you've got to wait a year to know what your elected representatives are doing from financial transactions standpoint, I don't think that is a timely enough schedule for the members of the public to realize that right to know. Thank you very much.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
January 31, 2012