Eric Cantor on the Congressional "Insider" Problem

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 14 2011 1:49 PM

Eric Cantor on the Congressional "Insider" Problem

The revelations about congressional stock trading from 60 Minutes and Peter Schweizer's book made it into Eric Cantor's weekly press briefing; he took two questions on the issue, which was raised from total obscurity by Schweitzer. The first question: Would he support some version of the Stock Act, a bill that would apply insider trading law to members of Congress?

"I'm not familiar with the details of the Stock Act," said Cantor, "but I know it was mentioned in the program last night. My sense is, it requires more disclosure. I am for increased disclosure. If there is any sense of impropriety, or any appearance of that, we should take extra steps to make sure that the public's cynicism is addressed. We're not here to be hiding anything and I have always been, when it comes to either financial disclosures or campaign finance disclosures, very supportive of full disclosure as much as possible so that the public can continue to make their decision based on a full airing of the facts."

I followed this up by asking whether disclosure would be enough, or whether members of Congress should have to abide by the same insider trading laws as people in finance.

"I'm not as familiar with what triggers insider trading," he said, "and the specifics of the laws. What I can tell you is, we are accountable to our constituents, and we should be providing the kinds of information that would satisfy any kind of perception, reasonable perception, of impropriety. Many members don't actually trade in their portfolios. I don't. If full disclosure could satisfy some of the questions, I absolutely support that."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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