WASHINGTON — You may have seen this week’s “60 Minutes” segment on congressional stock trading. It had a simple thesis: lawmakers use non-public information they receive in their official capacity to make money on the stock market.
The story highlighted the STOCK Act, one of the few efforts to stop such a practice. The bill makes trading on non-public information illegal and requires lawmakers to report any stock transactions worth more than $1,000. As it turns out, Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz introduced the current iteration of the legislation this session, though “60 Minutes” didn’t feature him in its story.
“60 Minutes” did talk to Brian Baird, a former congressman who introduced the first version of the bill in 2004. He lamented the fact that only six lawmakers ended up signing on as co-sponsors. As of now, Walz’s bill has only nine.
“When you have a bill like this that makes so much sense and you can’t get the co-sponsorships, you can’t get the leadership to move it, it gets tremendously frustrating,” Baird told “60 Minutes.” “Set aside that it’s the right thing to do, it’s good politics. People want their Congress to function well. It still baffles me.”
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.