60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft confronts Schweikert about the S.T.O.C.K. Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) at the 12:50 mark of this 15 minute video.
The Congressman, who encourages his constituents to call him "David," says he had never heard of the legislation, but "I would have no problem with that. But then again, I'm a fan of instant disclosure on almost everything."
The heart of this segment is that Members of Congress have access to non-public information that gives them tremendous advantage in all sorts of situations that, in the past, have made many millionaires. It could be trading on financial or health care related stocks or real estate subject to appreciation because of infrastructure earmarks (or any number of other possibilities). This kind of insider trading by corporate executives is illegal. 60 Minutes showed examples related to John Boehner as well as former Speakers Dennis Hastert and Nancy Pelosi. In press conferences, when asked by Kroft, Boehner and Pelosi both denied any wrongdoing.
But if Members of Congress are considering anything other than what is best for everyday Americans when they act on information not available to the general public, that's problematic.
Which brings us back to the STOCK Act.
Washington, DC - Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, today issued the following explaination of the STOCK Act which she recently co-authored with Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA-3).
SUMMARY of S.T.O.C.K. (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act
- Prohibits members or employees of Congress from buying or selling stocks, bonds, or commodities futures based on nonpublic information about pending or prospective legislative action.
- Prohibits those outside of Congress from buying or selling stocks, bonds, or commodities futures based on nonpublic information about pending or prospective legislative action if that information is obtained from a member or employee of Congress.
- Prohibits members, employees, or persons with nonpublic information from disclosing information about any pending or prospective legislative action if they believe that information will be used to buy or sell stocks, bonds, or commodities futures.
- Requires members of Congress and employees to report the purchase, sale, or exchange of any stock, bond, or commodities future in excess of $1,000 within 30 days. Members and employees who choose to place their stock holdings in blind trusts or mutual funds are exempt from this reporting requirement.
- Requires firms that specialize in "political intelligence" and obtain their information directly from Congress to register with the House and Senate, much like lobbying firms are now required to do.
Since David (Schweikert) declared so boldly and in such plain language on 60 Minutes, "I would have no problem with that. But then again, I'm a fan of instant disclosure on almost everything..." should not we ask him why he has not been willing to disclose his interest in UNfair Trust?
They were his words. Why has he not yet lived up to those words on such an important issue as his clandestine group's efforts to sabotage the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission?
Again, the Congressman's office phone numbers are 480-946-2411 (Scottsdale) and 202-225-2190 (Washington, DC).
Would it be UNFAIR to ask him to end the charade of unFair Trust?
By the way, last week, the Yellow Sheet published a blurb with some limited information suggesting UNfair Trust has run out of money and that it only had $250,000 to spend on the effort anyway.
One source involved in the group told our reporter FAIR Trust raised roughly $250,000, but questioned how it was spent. “What I want to know is, what did they do up to this point?” the source said. The answer to that question may lie in the list of recipients. Along with the congressional and legislative aides are five attorneys: D. Aaron Brown, David Cantelme , Tim LaSota, Michael Liburdiand Ian Macpherson. Either Cantelme, Liburdi or LaSota attended almost every IRC meeting during the summer, beginning with the late June meetings in which the IRC interviewed mapping consultants and ending when the draft maps were adopted. The source was critical not only of how FAIR Trust spent its money, but also how it raised the money: “The real blunder of this is that this process was built without input from the delegation, then the delegation was told to raise money for it. I’ve never dealt with a process that was more distasteful from a fundraising perspective.”
That number, I believe is a dramatic understatement of the funding that has been amassed and spent to undermine independent redistricting in Arizona. A more realistic estimate will be available, probably within the next couple of days. I plan to show as much detail of that activity as possible. So, stay tuned.
In the meantime, I've learned of an effort that one individual who has connection to various Tea Party and other conservative activist groups has been engaged in to use, at minimum, misleading statements to solicit and in some cases obtain city and town council resolutions supporting redistricting proposals (at odds with the AIRC draft maps) that appear to be designed to establish rural Congressional and legislative districts favorable to certain rural elected officials. More details to follow in the next day or so.
The Appellate Courts Commission on Appointments has received four applications to fill the temporarily vacant chair position on the AIRC, according to Jennifer Liewer, spokeswoman for the Supreme Court. The names will be disclosed at 5pm on Tuesday and applications will be available for review by the public by Wednesday morning.
In the meantime, oral arguments are still scheduled for Thursday at 2pm in the Special Action to restore Colleen Mathis to the AIRC.
The Arizona Republic and Capitol Media Services both have stories reported this evening on additional briefs filed in Supreme Court on Monday. I'll post the briefs when I received them.
Tuesday afternoon UPDATE
The chief communications officer for the Arizona Supreme Court moments ago sent out an email indicating there have been seven applications submitted thus far for the temporarily vacant chair of the AIRC. There may be more applications prior to the 5pm deadline. Staff for the Court expects to work late tonight to prepare the applications for posting. Therefore, I expect to be able to list the names, and perhaps the applications, this evening.
Tuesday evening UPDATE
Kpho Channel 5 reports (on its 10pm news broadcast) that it contacted all of Arizona's Congressional delegation within its viewing area. That includes McCain and Kyl; Pastor, Flake, Schweikert, Gosar, Franks and Quayle ON MONDAY.
Channel 5 asked each of them if they have ever profited from non-public information and if they would co-sponsor the S.T.O.C.K. Act.
Pastor and Flake responded that they have not traded on non-public information and WOULD be willing to sign on to the legislation. The reporter said McCain responded, but did not say what his response consisted of.
Further, the reporter said he would be looking into all of the financial disclosure reports for the entire delegation and will file a follow up report.