An Illinois congressman wants to make congressional insider trading illegal, and it’s not the first time he has tried. U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-Urbana) has again introduced a measure called the Stock Act to prohibit elected officials from using information gleaned from official closed-door meetings for personal gain. He tried something similar in 2006.
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Johnson cites insider trading incidents in 2008 with the former House Revenue Committee chairman and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “Then [the chairman] bet on option funds that would increase in value if the stock market tanked. Speaker Pelosi invested in a stock offering from Visa in 2008,” Johnson says. “A bill that toughened regulations on credit card agencies never made it to the floor of the House that year.” Johnson says such activity is illegal on Wall Street, and the same provisions would be applied to members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. “That’s already illegal in terms of insider trading laws on Wall Street,” he says. “This simply transfers over those provisions of existing law to members of Congress, to executive officials and otherwise, and makes their activities prohibited.”