Posted at 4:20 PM on February 7, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - DFL Congressman Tim Walz says House Republican leaders are trying to undermine the STOCK Act, an ethics bill designed to stop insider trading by members of congress, just days before a scheduled floor vote Thursday.
Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he plans to offer amendments to strengthen the version of the bill passed by the Senate last week with near unanimous support.
At a press conference Tuesday, Walz's co-sponsor, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said that based on the changes she heard were going into the bill, "I think strengthening here is a euphemism for weakening."
In particular, Slaughter warned that Cantor might be unraveling a provision that would force political intelligence firms - companies that gather nonpublic information and sell that information to Wall Street - to register the way lobbyists do.
Walz said he was frustrated that he and Slaughter had been completely frozen out of the process of bringing the bill to the floor even though they have been working on the legislation for six years.
"We are doing an insider trading bill with insiders, behind closed doors, not sharing with us, not one call to the original authors of this bill," said Walz.
The bill is likely to pass the House by a wide margin. More than 280 of the House's 435 members have backed it, including six of Minnesota's eight House members.