Yes or no?

Note:  I asked my congressman whether his personal wealth had increased during his time as a public “servant.”  This is his response…

– Monsieur d’Nalgar

Dear [Jacques]:

Thank you for contacting me.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Public service allows ordinary Americans to step up, serve their country and do everything they can to make this nation a better place to call home.  Millions of Americans nationwide serve their country in a number of ways, from military service to elective office to school teachers and law enforcement.  Public service is about sacrifice, patriotism and, most importantly, it’s about honor.

So, I believe it is absolutely unacceptable when a public servant violates the public’s trust and uses his or her position for the wrong reasons.  Public servants, like Members of Congress, are held to a higher standard and they must respect the trust their constituents have placed in them.

Recently, the CBS News program “60 Minutes” reported that some Members of Congress may have bought stock in companies based on information they learned as a Member of Congress that wasn’t known to the general public – a practice that closely resembles insider trading.  Insider trading is the practice of buying or selling stocks or other securities based on special, nonpublic knowledge that is unfair to other investors who don’t have access to such knowledge.

It’s important to note that these are only allegations and are only directed a select few Members of Congress.  However, unlike corporate executives and employees, even if these allegations prove true, there is no specific law against insider trading by Members of Congress or their staff.

Members of Congress, their staff and other federal employees who use special, nonpublic information to make a profit are in complete violation of the public’s trust.  It’s blatantly unethical and it should be illegal.  To stop any form of insider trading in our nation’s capital, I’m proud to help introduce the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act), H.R. 1148.  If passed, this bill would criminalize insider trading on Capitol Hill.

The bipartisan STOCK Act would expressly prohibit Members of Congress, employees of Congress and all executive branch employees from profiting off of nonpublic information they obtain through their official positions.  In fact, this bill would prohibit any person – federal employee or not – from buying or selling securities, swaps or commodity futures based on congressional and executive branch nonpublic information.

The STOCK Act would also require public and timely disclosure of financial transactions above $1,000 and would amend House ethics rules to prohibit Members and their employees from disclosing any nonpublic information for investment purposes.

Congress must work to restore the American people’s faith in our government.  Public service should not be about profit; it should be about doing what’s right.  As your Congressman, I will keep working to hold our leaders accountable and increase transparency in our government.  It’s time for both sides to stop the partisan games, stop the hidden agendas and start working for the American people to get our debt under control and our economy growing again.

Thank you again for contacting me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.

Mike Ross

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    • Mike Nunn on December 14, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Strange, I got exactly the same message. I wonder if they have a special course they give all incoming congressman to make sure they are able to engage in these magnificent obfuscation techniques.

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