Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) tried attaching a few amendments to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which is supposed to shut down insider trading by members of Congress.
One of them actually would have short-circuited the featured legislation in the Act, by replacing it with a simple requirement for lawmakers to “sign an affirmation each year that they did not participate in insider trading.” Paul thought the STOCK Act, as written, would create a bureaucratic piñata stuffed with unintended consequences, without actually doing anything effective against congressional insider trading.
The other amendment Paul offered would have closed the “revolving door” between federal staff and companies looking for big subsidies and loans. Senator Paul thought this was a much more pressing issue than congressional insider trading – an idea he might have gotten by reading the newspapers, and pondering the combined taxpayer losses of President Obama’s solar-powered rat holes.
Paul said of his proposals:
These amendments are recognizing what the authors of these bills have been discussing, that people should not profit off of their involvement in government. They shouldn’t profit off of special relationships. They shouldn’t profit off of special knowledge they gain in the function of serving the people.
Currently there are some large donors that have been giving to this Administration who have profited enormously and disproportionately.
This will allow this bill to apply to the Administration, and I don’t believe people who are multimillionaires and billionaires should use the apparatus of government as was used in the loans that were given to Solyndra by someone who is profiting off of their relationship and ties to the President, profiting off of people who used to work for these companies now, who are now employed in the administration and using these connections to get taxpayer money to go to private individuals.
This is wrong and this should stop. I think this bill is a great vehicle for discussing how people in government are abusing their roles in government to make more money at the expense of the taxpayer.
Alas, Paul’s amendments both died in the Senate today, with the ban on the White House revolving door failing 48-51. The Hill notes that Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) thought the Paul amendment was too strict, and the penalties too harsh. The White House’s defenders don’t seem terribly concerned about the “harsh penalties” imposed on taxpayers after the failure of Obama’s “green energy” corporatist ideology.
Lieberman did manage to get an amendment through, requiring “3,000 members of the executive to file their financial disclosure forms electronically.” Does that apply to the 36 White House staffers who didn’t bother to pay their taxes, to the tune of over $800,000? Or will we just get “404 – Page Not Found” errors when we try to pull up their tax returns?