Senate to vote on bill to prevent insider trading on Capitol Hill

Ahead of a Senate test vote Monday on a measure to prevent insider trading among members of Congress, co-sponsors are hopeful the bill will "set a legislative speed record" to become public law.

The Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, the response to reports that party leaders and committee chairmen may have benefited by investment transactions made while legislation was pending, was introduced on Nov. 15, passed committee on Dec. 14 and will be voted on Monday.

In a statement Thursday, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., a co-sponsor of the bill, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., credited President Obama for pushing for the bill to get off Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's desk. Brown said he approached Obama as he was walking out of the House chamber following the State of the Union address and explaining that the bill was ready for Reid to pull the plug

Obama can be heard on cameras that picked up the action, saying, "I'm gonna tell him to get it done."

"I thank President Obama for supporting my legislation and Leader Reid for granting my request for a vote," Brown said. "I hope the Senate passes the STOCK Act and sends a unified message to the American people that Congress is not above the law and will be held accountable."

The Senate version of the bill would make any member of Congress who violates the ban on insider trading liable to investigation and prosecution by regulatory agencies and the Justice Department. It also calls for new rules to be devised by House and Senate ethics panels to come up with additional penalties.

The House must still pass similar legislation, but Obama said during his State of the Union Address last week that he would sign the legislation if it makes it to his desk.

"Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow," the president said to applause. "Let's limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact."

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Gillibrand said the objective was to have "a strong bill with teeth."

The STOCK Act will ensure "that members of Congress cannot tip off others with non-public information gained through their duties," she said.