Congress Exempts Most Federal Workers From Key Insider Trading Reporting Requirement

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in 2012, amid "intense pressure from Obama" including an appeal for its passage in his 2012 State of the Union address, Congress passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act (with 96-3 theatrical votes in the Senate, and 417-2 even more theatrical votes in the House) - a bill prohibiting the use of non-public information for private profit, including insider trading by members of Congress and other government employees. It is unclear why until 2012 it was perfectly legal for congress to trade on inside information, something we pointed out in May 2011 when we wrote that a "A Hedge Fund Comprised Of Junior Congressional Democrats Should Outperform The Market By 9%" as it turned out flagrant insider trading abuse occurred mostly within the democrat ranks of the House (compared to a mere 2%+ outperformance by Congressional stock trading republicans).

It turns out that any cynical skepticism regarding Congress' ability and willingness to police itself was well founded, as last night the House eliminated a "key requirement of the insider trading law for most federal employees, passing legislation exempting these workers, including congressional staff, from a rule scheduled to take effect next week that mandated online posting of financial transactions."

The reason why one will have to take Congress at its word that it is not breaking the law? Because apparently posting Congress' financial dealings online would be pose a "national risk" according to the National Academy of Public Administration.

Surely this explains why the bill was rushed and voted in the matter of hours: one can't have a debate over matters of "national security" especially if the financial well-being of Congress is at risk. As Washington Times recaps, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, introduced the bill on Thursday and had the chamber vote on it late that evening. The House took the bill up on Friday afternoon and passed it by unanimous consent, with no members objecting. Republican leaders did not give lawmakers the traditional three days to read the bill before holding a vote. One GOP aide told The Washington Times the three-day rule did not apply to Friday’s action because the bill came from the Senate, while another said the House moved quickly because of a Monday deadline for the new disclosure mandates to take effect."

In other words, while the STOCK Act passed nearly unanimously in 2012 just to show how "honest" congress is, the follow up legislation that effectively undoes the key reporting requirement of said anti-inside trading law passed just as unanimously, allowing congress to have its shady dealings cake, and eat its non-inside trading reputation too.

That both democrats and republicans rushed to pass this provision shows just how truly engrained the unwillingness for true transparency in Congress is.

Obviously, the justification spin for eliminating the key STOCK act provision was ready and just waiting to be unleashed:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's spokesman Rory Cooper told CNN the decision to enact new legislation now was in direct response to the study.


"In December when we extended the STOCK Act deadline for public disclosure of Financial Disclosures, we required a study by the non-partisan and independent National Academy of Public Administration. This was their recommendation, and the House and Senate agreed it was the best course of action for the time being," Cooper told CNN in a written statement.

In other words, according to the "nonpartisan and independent" NAPA, having Congressional financial documents online represents a national security risk. Because somehow terrorists will terrorize the US even more when they know on what days Nancy Pelosi bought and sold the S&P 500.

Federal employees began expressing concerns about the national security risks of posting personal financial information online soon after government agencies moved to implement the STOCK Act last year.


Online posting was supposed to begin August 31, 2012, but Congress passed extensions three separate times pushing off the compliance date.


In December, the last time the House and Senate approved another extension signed by the president, they also directed the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), a non-profit group of public management experts chartered by Congress, to study whether there were real security risks associated with putting this kind of financial information on the Internet.


Part of the law required that senior government officials’ financial disclosure reports — which they are already required to submit in paper — be made available online in a searchable, sortable format. The belief was that publishing them online would make it easier for reporters and the public to try to spot illicit dealings.


The online disclosure provisions had not yet taken effect, and Congress asked NAPA to review the law.


In a report release last month a five-member NAPA panel said online posting would mean more sensitive information about high-level government employees would be easily available, which would make identify theft easier.


An open, online, searchable and exploitable database of personal financial information about senior federal employees will provide easy access to ‘high quality’ personal information on ‘high value’ targets,” NAPA officials said in their report.


The Defense Department told NAPA that online disclosure would mean hostile nations would have easy access to sensitive personal information about top national security officials.

Because "hostile nations" have nothing better to do than trade alongside Congressmen with the usual 13F, 45-day delay. In the meantime, those who truly would benefit from this transparency: the media, or least those very few in the media who have not been bought by Congress just yet, and are willing to check which members of Congress are now actively breaking the STOCK law, will have their work cut out for them.

At least someone spoke up, although their objection will be promptly ignored and forgotten.

One advocacy group pushing for greater government transparency blasted the move, saying it “guts" the law.


"Not only does the change undermine the intent of the original bill to ensure government insiders are not profiting from non-public information, it sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent suggesting that any risks stem not from information being public but from public information being online,” Lisa Rosenberg of the Sunlight Foundation wrote in a statement.

Yet, fundamentally all last night's accelerate revision to the STOCK act does is pray on the laziness of "terrorist" and, of course, reporters:

With this change those federal workers would still have to report any securities trades over the law's $1,000 threshold within 45 days. While these reports would be publicly available, they would no longer be posted online in a format that anyone can search or download.

So basically "hostile nations" can still access all the data, however it will be in paper format. And this avoids national security risks just how?

Of course, if indeed this is merely a bet on the laziness of the financial media, it is probably safe one. After all it appears that said financial media would rather spend hours discussing and lamenting the sad future of the financial media, especially how slideshows of kittens are part of the great profitability strategy... 

... than actually doing any financial media stuff, like reporting. After all why bother: one can always pray someone else will do the actual work, and everyone else can just do what modern "financial media" is so truly good at: CTRL-C and CTRL-V.

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timbo_em's picture

All men are equal. The fat pigs are just MOAR equal.

HoofHearted's picture

Power corrupts. And the corrupt seem to be the ones who end up in power.

This is why I voted for Ron Paul and then for Gary Johnson. I thought they really didn't want the job so much as they thought the country was so fucked up that the country needed them right then. Next time I'm voting "Tyler Durden." At least the Tylers would share the insider information so that we could all make a little fiat....

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Congress exempts most federal workers from the consequences of their actions.

toys for tits's picture

Now the PM smackdown is becoming clearer.  

They instituted that, thinking it would keep the tin-foil types busy this weekend and so we would ignore this "routine" national security vote.

Xibalba's picture

and not a peep from anyone...even the Libertarians were too busy talking about gay rights to notice

imaginalis's picture

Anyone who still votes for any of these crooks deserves to be fleeced. 

Divine Wind's picture



Anyone who still votes at all is simply wasting their time.

The system is far far too gamed.



smlbizman's picture

i think we probably should be looking at "post trade adjustments" know ..betting after the race has run....

OccupyTVstations's picture

Wednesday: News breaks that Fed 'accidentally' sent insider info to TBTF banks and Congress.

Thursday: Harry Reid introduces bill, Congressional (+ staffers) trades must be kept secret.

Any questions?

McMolotov's picture

Yes. When do we decide that since the law doesn't apply to government officials, bankers, and other assorted well-connected assholes, the law no longer applies to us, either — at which point we commence taking their heads as trophies?

OccupyTVstations's picture

As soon as someone figures out how to prevent the next fluoride delivery to the NYC and/or DC water supply.

jimmytorpedo's picture

Check the ingredients on Prozac.

It's made from flouride.

Tap water is Prozac.

Makes sense now doesn't it.

bunnyswanson's picture!

29 years ago a Russian KGB defector predicts what we are seeing and how we have reached this point.

The danger is real, he said. 

Pseudo Anonym's picture

sure thing

the law no longer applies to us, either — at which point we commence taking their heads as trophies?

here's the how to demo:

Divine Wind's picture



"at which point we commence taking their heads as trophies?"



There must come a time where people, EN MASS, start standing up. Sending your corrupt politicians Twitter messages, Facebook posts and email messages is a joke.



Lost Word's picture

But Insider trading by CONgress is still illegal?

Just reporting not necessary?

Easier to hide, harder to prosecute?

jimmytorpedo's picture

Insider trading by CONgress has never been illeagal.

This is for the Postal Workers and TSA.

wee-weed up's picture

Rules are for thee...

not for me!

monad's picture

We are born equally helpless and we die once. We all get what we are willing to settle for. Human intelligence is pathetic. Every life is a riddle, otherwise Bobby Sands is right now consulting a demiurge what to do with Thatcher. I have James Clerk Maxwell's genes, whereas Darwin was an inbred mutant; like Clinton. I am not going to help these darwinitic mutants. They are not equal to the offices they hold. Tiocfaidh ar la

alien-IQ's picture

Ok, so let me see if I got this right:

The Federal government passes a law that prohibits Federal employees from trading on insider congressional information...and then attaches an amendment to that law that EXEMPTS Federal employees from said law?

Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously?

Tyler Durden's picture

Obviously you do not care about the "national security"

alien-IQ's picture

Nor am I worried about being attacked by vampires while jogging at night...but I'm just crazy like that.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Nor am I worried about being attacked by vampires while jogging at night...but I'm just crazy like that.

Tagged as domestic terrist.

knukles's picture

3 strikes and you're out, dude...

disabledvet's picture

they're down 25 billion in the Facebook "phuck their minds" IPO...and they need to get that money now...OR ELSE! Show a little understanding will ya? Besides if Japan and South Korea force the USA's hand into a pre-emptive strike into the North well, let's just say those are powerful enemies to have...probably the most powerful in American History. Now let's here from the REAL B-52's shall we: phuck you Kim Jong Last. i hope they'll be rocking downtown Seoul next weekend...with a million people out just for fun.

Milestones's picture

"Cast your fate to the wind" I,m in a misic thing tonite.        Milestones

Colonel Klink's picture

We all know who the REAL bloodsuckers are!

Tinky's picture

Your surprise is understandable. But I just finished a séance in which I was communicating with George Orwell, and after I quoted this article, he scoffed and assumed that we were having a transmission problem.

kchrisc's picture

The real trick will be exempting themselves from the guillotine.      hujel

Divine Wind's picture



Ain't gonna happen.

Oath Keeps my ass.


williambanzai7's picture

There is an evil hostile nation called Transparency and Ethics. 

YHC-FTSE's picture

Apparently they can launch WMDs at us in 45mins! Their leader calls himself O'Interest. Conflict O'Interest. 

Burt Gummer's picture

That figures, one set of rules for the rich and one set of rules for the poor.

Ignatius's picture

Ah, they're being forced to expand the franchise... good move, I support it.  /sarc

earleflorida's picture

... and, they all took comfort in the devine province of rome--  minding their selfish affairs, and counting their dilluted silver and polished gold... all the while the barbarian's were at the four gate's-- we all know how the story ends...

A Lunatic's picture

Criminals, every last damned one of them.........

Pairadimes's picture

Translation: Can't let the bloggers see this shit, or anything could happen.

OneTinSoldier66's picture

The following is something I saw someone post just the other day. I can't remeber who it was but I like it a lot...



Yen Cross's picture

      Nancy Pelosi must have  left a 10 foot 'snail track' on the senate floor, after that was passed.

imaginalis's picture

I would imagine her to be as dry as the Sahara desert

jimmytorpedo's picture

You're both grossing me out.

beavertails's picture

They won't prosecute any REAL insiders anyways so the exemption makes sense as there will be less SEC studs watching PORN.

Van Halen's picture

Obama, the transparent president, bringing us all together! They're the ones we've been waiting for! Forward!

Mark123's picture

God....just imagine the consequences of some remote chance that some undefined potential identity theft of a federal government employee occurred!   Unthinkable.


It is far better to operate our government under a cloak of secrecy to avoid that potential threat.  I mean to say, we all trust these guys 100% anyways.

max2205's picture

Same as it ever was.....

Zola's picture

It's only "fair"