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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida lawmakers join rush to support bills banning Congressional 'insider trading'



Florida lawmakers in Washington have joined the stampede of support for bills that would ban congressional insider trading -- following a Nov. 13 60 Minutes piece that drew widespread attention to an issue that has been around a long time but mostly ignored.

Support for the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, a version of which has kicked around for several years, has risen dramatically. There are currently 99 co-sponsors, up from 9 before the television piece. New Florida backers include Reps. Vern Buchanan; Alcee Hastings; Dennis Ross; and Allen West.

The Senate version, introduced by Sen. Scott Brown, who is facing a tough re-election contest in Massachusetts, is supported by Sen. Marco Rubio. A competing bill by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has support of Rubio and Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who is also facing re-election.

Will anything happen? Carl Hulse of the New York Times has a good piece today on the issue and its prospects. Read it here.

Florida Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, told Sunshine State News recently that he thinks the practice is already banned. “For a member of Congress to profit based on information that is not available to the public is a clear violation of House ethics rules and, in my opinion, already against the law," Rooney told the website.

UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner's campaign notes that he too supports a crackdown. "I fully support making it illegal for an elected official or staffer to use inside information for personal financial gain," Hasner said recently. "I would also go a step further and require Members of Congress and key staff to place their assets in a blind trust so Americans can be confident they are doing the people's business, not their own."

George LeMieux, another Republican Senate candidate, also agrees, said spokeswoman Anna Nix. "Insider trading should not be tolerated at any level, especially by elected officials. George believes Members of Congress should go to Washington to represent the values of their constituents, not for personal financial gain."

[Last modified: Monday, November 28, 2011 4:55pm]


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