Last month, ’60 Minutes’ blew open allegations of long-standing insider trading practices by members of Congress, sparking a national debate about lawmakers getting rich off the people they serve.The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee is holding a hearing today into ways to prevent and prosecute such unethical actions, after initial reports suggested that the Securities and Exchange Commission could not investigate those violations.
But in prepared testimony to the committee, the SEC’s Robert Khuzami, the director of the commission’s Division of Enforcement, writes that the independent agency is empowered to prosecute members of Congress and their staffers, but that it never has.
Insider trading cases are difficult to prove on Wall Street, but in Washington it’s even more difficult due to congressional protections under the Speech or Debate Clause — and the challenges to identify appropriate access and dissemination of information, and such practices that cross the line.
The committee is considering two versions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2011 to make it easier for the SEC to prosecute members of Congress for engaging in insider trading.
Check out the full statement below:
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