Whenever the opportunity to increase power falls upon those in power, there is bound to be corruption. In the United States, this has always been the case with the crime of insider trading. The situation becomes most interesting, however, when analyzing how members of Congress and their aides fail to follow the laws that they themselves create. Insider trading legislation needs to be reformed to prevent those who create law from violating it.
Representative Baird explained in a Wall Street Journal article, “Members of Congress and their staffs have access to information worth millions of dollars if used for personal gain,” Baird is a key leader in the launch of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act commonly referred to as the STOCK bill, “The public expects us to adhere to at least as high a standard as we impose on other people, and we don’t in this case.”
Baird’s STOCK bill was first presented in 2006 where it received the support of fourteen additional lawmakers. Baird brought the bill to the House floor again in 2009 and only received the endorsement of nine lawmakers. It is clear that support of this bill will need to start with the American people. If citizens actively make their concerns about congressional insider trading known to their elected officials in Washington, then hopefully the bill will gain support in the House and lead to the creation of a similar bill in the Senate. I envision a long road ahead to correct the unlawful acts of insider trading executed on the Hill. In reality, prosecuting the crime of insider trading in the courtroom is a particularly difficult undertaking, especially when it comes to members of Congress and their staff. For these reasons, I would like to further explore congressional insider trading in my white paper.
While many think thanks have addressed this important issue, The Heritage Foundation has done quite a bit of work when it comes to congressional insider trading.