This is in response to Bruce Bennetts Dec. 9 letter, Insider trading.
I, too, am angered that members of Congress and their staff are able to use their information and connections to game the system and legally profit from what we would consider insider trading. Their actions jeopardize the confidence in our markets and create an unfair advantage for a relatively small group of people.
I am dead set against insider trading. I pledge to you, Bruce, and the people of the district that I will work tirelessly to make sure the federal securities laws regarding insider trading are applied not only to ordinary citizens, but also to Congress and its staff.
Insider trading is also a breach of the Code of Ethics for Government Service. No member of staff has ever been charged with violating federal law or this part of the code.
There are some thorny legal questions, including: Does the Constitutions speech and debate clause protect members who share material, nonpublic information that could be used in stock purchasing?
The newly introduced Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act explicitly forbids insider trading by members and staffers. I applaud the intent, but have concerns the legislation will create gaps that dont exist under the Securities Exchange Act.
One example: The STOCK Acts insider trading statute would only apply to situations where the material, nonpublic information being used or tipped, pertained to pending or prospective legislation action. But members and staffers often learn valuable information at briefings that are unrelated to any legislation.
Instead of narrowing our focus merely to Congress, its time we attacked this problem holistically. There is no statutory definition for what constitutes insider trading. Congress should change that. If members felt it is necessary to add a specific provision to the new statute regarding their actions, I would support that too. Again, its time to stop members of Congress from insider trading.
To your second point: I am proud to call the north country home. I promise residents that, when elected, I will be available to all people through town halls and office hours as much as humanly possible when Congress is in recess.
Mr. Bennett,can we count on your vote this November?
The writer is a Republican candidate for Congress.