It’s good news that the Senate has moved to make legislators abide by the same rules the rest of us do. But Congress needs to go further—with the Restrict Act.
The STOCK Act to ban insider trading by members of Congress has sailed through the Senate, 96-3, and many members of the U.S. Senate were no doubt kicking and screaming as they voted for it. Heck, some of the most prominent cosponsors were people that I identified in my book, Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison, as having stock-trading activities that correlated nicely with their legislative work.
But let’s not let any of that sour the moment. The U.S. Senate has finally passed an important piece of legislation that reminds us all that members of Congress should abide by the same rules the rest of us do, including those involving insider trading.
I’ve made a lot of enemies in Washington over the past three months. I’ve been called names by members of both political parties and threatened with litigation. My response was “go right ahead.” But let’s take a moment to talk positively about some of those who made a difference in making this happen. After all, the American West was won by wagon train, and it took a team of dedicated and courageous people to bring us to this point.
The media: There were three news outlets that were determined to get to the bottom of this story regardless of who they ticked off: one on TV, another in print, and a third online. 60 Minutes producers Ira Rosen and Gabrielle Schonder, as well as correspondent Steve Kroft, got a lot of heat when they were working on this story. But despite distorted attacks by very powerful people in Washington, who took an “attack the messenger approach,” they didn’t blink. Bravo. Newsweek’s Peter Boyer The Daily Beast is the online home of Newsweek magazine was equally committed to getting to the truth and fought for this story to get out and took a lot of ground fire for it. If these individuals don’t win journalism awards for their work, there is no justice.
Online, Andrew Breitbart with whom I work, was all over this story from the beginning and was willing to go wherever it led, which meant going after both Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals. He was essentially alone on this story.
The actions of all of these individuals stand in stark contrast to many members of the Washington media who simply ignored the story or actually attacked it in an effort to curry favor with the Washington establishment. Unfortunately, there are a lot of lapdogs and too few watchdogs.