Currently, members of Congress are exempt from insider trading laws that everyone else has to follow. If anyone else used private information to bolster their portfolios, they would be the subject of a federal investigation and could quite possibly go to jail. If you’re a member of Congress, however, doing the exact same thing will result in absolutely no legal consequences whatsoever. This fact is a perfect symbol for everything we’re against: the collusion of finance and government, separate sets of rules for the 1 percent and everyone else, and a total lack of accountability for those in positions of financial and governmental power. My proposal is to kick off a campaign to stop this before the current legislative session concludes at the end of this year.
Specifically, I propose the start of a campaign with the following objectives:
1) That the Occupy Wall Street demand the passage of the STOCK Act, legislation currently in Congress that would end this practice for legislators and their staff.
2) That Occupy Wall Street strengthen the bill to prevent ANY member of Congress from trading in ANY security, be they stocks, bonds, commodities or derivatives, during the course of their terms and for one year after.
3) That Rep. Spencer Bachus, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, which will be reviewing the bill, recuse himself from any discussion or voting on the legislation due to him having engaged in insider trading activity that would have ordinarily constituted a criminal act. Further, that any other member of Congress having done the same do so as well.
4) That the SEC launch a full investigation of Congress to determine which lawmakers have engaged in what would have otherwise been criminal insider trading activity, and upon the probe’s conclusion, require that these lawmakers give away the money they made from doing so, and refuse any tax breaks that they may be eligible for in so doing.
This campaign will take the form of:
1) A phone campaign: Occupy Their Phones. People from all over the country flood Congress and the SEC with calls demanding these four things.
2) A press release distributed to all major media outlets expressing our desire to see the above four objectives achieved (note to facilitators: I have written one already, it can also be posted to the website for approval)
3) Coordinated action with Occupy D.C., as well as occupations in cities and states where the relevant legislators operate in order to pressure individual lawmakers.
During this campaign, we will clarify that the problems facing the system are bigger than Congressional insider trading, but that this can be an important first step toward restoring some balance to the system.