Dan Benishek: Ban Insider Trading on Capitol Hill

Press Release

Date: Oct. 13, 2010
Location: Iron Mountain, MI
Issues: Trade

Congress needs to be at "arm's length' from Wall Street

Dr. Dan Benishek, candidate for Congress in Michigan's 1st District, today said his approach to "cleaning up Congress" would include new restraints on Members' activities, including a law to ban insider stock trading by Members of Congress and their staffs.

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal suggested that over 70 congressional staffers have been active in trading stocks of companies overseen by their bosses' committees.[1]

In recent statements issued by the Benishek campaign, the Iron Mountain surgeon announced his support for other congressional reforms, including limits on congressional terms and a ban on "for-profit" earmarks.

Dr. Benishek commented, "Congressmen and their staffs have access to confidential information about public companies, yet these people are immune from insider trading laws. This may appear to be a small issue, but citizens have a right to insist that their representatives are not above the law. At a time when the American people have very little faith in their elected representatives in Washington, it is critical that Congress avoids even the appearance of conflicts and impropriety."

A recent article by Politico noted, "Currently, insider trading laws that apply to the corporate world do not apply to Congress, allowing members and their aides to exchange information and buy stocks based on inside information coming from Capitol Hill. The corporate world, however, is held under severe penalties for insider trading, often resulting in extraordinary fines."[2]

"Members of Congress should not be immune from the laws they pass. It is as simple as that," Dr. Benishek concluded.

Dr. Benishek said he would be the "first to read and then co-sponsor" this legislation, as presently outlined in H.R. 682, "The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act."

[1] "Lawmaker Vows to Outlaw Insider Trading on the Hill," The Wall Street Journal, A9, 10/12/2010.

[2] "New push to ban Hill insider trading," Politico.