If you or I buy or sell stocks based on inside information not available to the public, we could end up in the federal slammer. That is unless you’re a member of Congress. Think this doesn’t affect you because you don’t trade stocks? Think again if you own a 401(k), mutual fund, annuity or your company’s retirement plan depends on investments. The Security Exchange Commission has declared that these rules don’t apply to the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate — or their staffers. Do our representatives have access to inside information? You bet; they write all that federal legislation. Do they use it for personal profit? Four university professors have completed a study that shows personal trades from 1985-2001 beat the public, on average, by 6 percent a year (CNBC, June 20). Maybe they’re just smarter than we are.
A few in Congress believe some of their colleagues cheat. Since 2006, and again this year, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act has been introduced to curb investment cheating in Congress, and once again it died in committee. Let your representatives and senators know how you feel about this.
Michael B. Lumbard