On the heels of a report by CBS' "60 Minutes" about federal lawmakers' exemption to insider-trading laws, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said on CBS' "The Early Show" Wednesday that a bill she's introducing to end the exemption would help restore Americans' confidence in Congress.
"The American people don't have a lot of trust in Congress," Gillibrand told "Early Show" anchor Chris Wragge. "They look to Congress, and they know it's broken, and so a measure like this can begin to restore that trust, and I think all of us, it's incumbent upon us to make the kinds of changes that the American people would expect we would make so that we live by the same exact rules that everyone else does."
Gillibrand isn't alone in trying to outlaw the exemption, which allows members of Congress to financially gain from non-public information they come across in their official duties. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., introduced a similar bill, called the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK, Act, Tuesday.
(Watch at left a report from Cordes)
Brown's bill would require lawmakers to report transactions of at least $1,000 in bonds, commodities or stocks within 90 days. One difference between the two bills is that Gillibrand's would empower the Securities and Exchange Commission to prosecute lawmakers for insider-trading cases as well as make insider trading against the rules of the House and Senate.
"It's not right for someone who gets access to inside information to be able to profit from that," Gillibrand told Wragge, "and members of Congress have access to a lot of information about different laws that are being written, who will be regulated, who will get certain government contracts, and they should not be able to profit from the position that they hold as a public servant."
House Speaker John Boehner argues there are already guidelines for congressional investments, making a bill like this unnecessary, Cordes reports.
"I have not made any decisions on day-to-day trading activities in my account and haven't for years," Boehner told reporters.