Tag Archives: NY-28

Slaughter’s STOCK Act Passes

10 Feb

Congratulations to Louise Slaughter, who has championed the STOCK act for years, most of them in the wilderness, until 60 Minutes shed light on the fact that members of Congress were not barred from insider trading, and getting quite rich as a result. It passed the House yesterday, which is a great thing but also a shocking indictment on our entire political system – that it took this long to identify and solve this rank corruption. What follows is a press release from Slaughter:

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, today scored a major victory having language she first authored that would end insider trading in Congress pass by a vote of 417 to 2. While elements of her original bill the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, were not included in the legislation passed today by the House, today’s vote is a testament to Slaughter’s tenacity on an issue that received little attention until three months ago.

Today Slaughter spoke on the House floor saying, “At its heart, the STOCK Act is a statement of how we in Congress view ourselves, and our relationship to those we serve. No matter how powerful our position, nor how hallowed the halls we walk, no one should be above the law.  With the passage of the STOCK Act, we can move one step closer to living up to the faith and trust bestowed upon us by the American people- the citizens for whom we serve.”

Video of Slaughter’s floor statement is included here.

The journey to today’s passage has been a long one and Slaughter made clear today it is not yet complete.

Slaughter has been pushing Majority Leader Eric Cantor for months to bring the STOCK Act to the floor and the version he brought forth has raised eyebrows from Slaughter and other good government stalwarts when it removed a provision that would bring the shadowy political intelligence industry under the same regulations as the lobbyists they work beside.

Political intelligence is the latest effort by Wall Street and K Street to gain market moving information from Members of Congress and their staffs for the sake of selling it to hedge funds and other financial clients. Because political intelligence operatives don’t currently have to register the way lobbyists do, staffers and Members of Congress often don’t know that information they share is being passed along to the highest bidder. The political intelligence industry has become a $402 million a year endeavor lurking in the shadows of Congress.

Slaughter is now pushing strongly for a conference committee made up of members of the House and Senate to work together rectifying the differences between the Senate and House-passed bills. During the conference committee process, she will fight hard to retain her political intelligence provision which is a part of the bipartisan Senate-passed bill. Slaughter’s house bill that included the provision included the support of 99 Republicans.

Today on the House floor, Slaughter said, “When it comes to K Street, it appears that Republican Leadership couldn’t stomach the pressure from the political intelligence community.  After working behind closed doors, the Majority removed a major provision that would have held political intelligence operatives to the same standards as lobbyists who come before this Congress.  Fortunately, Democrats and Republicans alike are fighting to keep political intelligence as part of the final bill.”

Earlier this week, Majority Leader Eric Cantor released a statement praising Slaughter’s years of work to end insider trading in Congress saying, “Members from both sides of the aisle have worked hard on this issue, specifically Representatives Tim Walz and Louise Slaughter, and they deserve credit for their efforts to increase transparency and accountability as we take a step to restore the public’s trust in the federal government. After years of work, it’s about time their efforts resulted in a law.”

A timeline of Slaughter’s years of work leading to today’s vote is included below.

Timeline

March 28, 2006 – Slaughter along with Rep. Brian Baird (WA-3) first introduced the STOCK Act. In that 109th Congress, the bill received 13 co-sponsors. Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that Tony Rudy, Chief of Staff to then House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, “bought and sold hundreds of stocks from his computer in the U.S. Capitol in 1999 and 2000, according to financial-disclosure forms and other DeLay aides.” The STOCK Act was reintroduced by Baird and Slaughter again in 2007 and 2009 never gaining more than 9 co-sponsors.

March 17, 2011 – Slaughter reintroduces the STOCK Act into the 112th Congress with Rep. Tim Walz (MN-01). It is supported by good government groups Common Cause, CREW, Democracy 21, Public Citizen and US PIRG.

November 13, 2011 – 60 Minutes ran a story pointing out the problem of insider trading in Congress. Prior to the piece, the bill had 9 co-sponsors. The next day, the STOCK Act began an explosion of support. Slaughter said recently, “In my 20 years here, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

November 15, 2011 – a Senate counterpart to the STOCK Act is introduced for the first time by Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). Two days later, Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a second version of the STOCK Act in the Senate. The bills are later combined.

December 1,  2011 – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a hearing on the STOCK Act

December 6, 2011 – The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on the STOCK Act where Slaughter and Walz testify. Chairman Bachus schedules a markup of the bill for December 14.

December 7, 2011 – Politico  reports that the markup scheduled in the Financial Services Committee is postponed under pressure from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

December 8, 2011 – Slaughter and Walz’s STOCK Act receives the overwhelming support of a majority of the House of Representatives. More than 218 members (the number needed to pass the bill under regular order), co-sponsor the bill.

December 17, 2011 – With pressure mounting, Majority Leader Cantor tells CBS he will take up the STOCK Act.

December 20, 2011 – The Wall Street Journal reported on dozens of meetings set up by political intelligence firms with their clients and lawmakers, giving hedge funds and other financial institutions access to privileged information that made them untold sums of money. Slaughter and Walz say this is further evidence that transparency is needed in the political intelligence industry.

January 24, 2011 – President Obama says in his State of the Union, “Send me a bill that bans insider trading by Members of Congress, and I will sign it tomorrow.”

February 1, 2011 – Slaughter and Walz introduce a discharge petition that would bring their STOCK Act up for a vote on the House floor. In the first day it is signed by 115 Members of Congress. In total 171 Members signed the discharge petition.

February 2, 2011 – The Senate passes their version of the STOCK Act by a vote of 96-3. It includes an amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that includes language from Slaughter’s bill regulating the political intelligence industry.

February, 6, 2011 – As Slaughter and Walz continue to pressure Cantor for a vote on the STOCK Act, it was clear that he would introduce his own version of the bill. He never consults the bill’s original authors. Meanwhile Slaughter’s bill gains the support of 286 co-sponsors including 99 Republicans.

February 7, 2011 – At 10:30 pm, Cantor’s office finally releases text of his changes to be voted on by the House and makes clear that he will bring it a vote using a procedure that does not allow for amendments or changes. Slaughter says repeatedly that this version of the bill is weakened. It does not include her provision to regulate the $402 million a year political intelligence industry.

February 8, 2011 – Slaughter and Walz react to the weakened version of the House bill. Slaughter tells reporters in the Capitol, “Our job here is never done. That’s the beauty of a legislature, you’re never truly defeated until you stop trying and I don’t give up so easily.” Meanwhile Cantor releases a statement praising Slaughter’s years of work on this issue.

February 9, 2011 – The STOCK Act passes the House by an overwhelming vote of 417-2. Slaughter vows to fight for a conference committee to make the bill that will be sent to President Obama even stronger.

Transparency

1 Jul

Jill Rowland is the tea partying dentist running for Congress against Louise Slaughter. Here’s her Twitter page. Fail.

Dr. Rowland’s opponent’s Twitter feed:

Slaughter Today

25 Mar

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Louise Slaughter on the Public Option

20 Aug

Representative Louise Slaughter (NY-28) discusses her support for a strong public option for health insurance reform:

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Buffalo News Endorsements So Far [UPDATED]

29 Oct

President:

Barack Obama (D) (article here)

If Americans want a future where our leaders respond to challenges with judgment and principle, rather than panic and rashness, they will elect Barack Obama president. We recommend they do so.

Our preference for Obama is not based only on matters of character, intelligence and calm. It also flows from his superior positions on such basic issues as war and peace, energy and environment, the economy and taxation, health care and justice.

Fundamentally, Obama does not want us to fear the future, the ever smaller, ever more complicated world, the problems we face and the choices we must make. He most certainly does not want us to be afraid of one another. And Obama does not even want us to be afraid of his rival candidate.

Congress:

NY-26: Alice Kryzan (D) (article here)

Kryzan is having no more of the Bush administration’s nonsense about the solution to every problem being another tax cut for the rich. And she resists the lure of cheap, and environmentally damaging, oil, turning instead to a new, green economy that will not only battle the trends toward climate change but also promise economic benefits to previously troubled areas such as Buffalo and the Great Lakes.

NY-27: Brian Higgins (D)

Higgins is vitally important on those local needs, and he is on the right side of the big issues. He is tired of the United States being played by all sides in the Iraq conflict and upset by what the conduct of the war on terror has done to American values. He favors reasonable regulation for the shattered financial markets and will not be a vote to continue the ruinous Bush tax cuts.

NY-28: Louise Slaughter (D)

As chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, she is in a good spot to see to the needs of all of Western New York. But, more than that, her position on the important issues facing the nation recommend her to the voters.

Slaughter is a strong voice for facing the threat of climate change through limits on greenhouse emissions, alternative energy sources and efficient autos and power plants. She supports a carefully managed withdrawal from Iraq and a restoration of the constitutional balances that have been upset by the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror. She seeks an end to the Bush tax code, which she rightly labels as a blatant redistribution of wealth — from the poor to the rich.

NY-29: Eric Massa (D)

Massa, a Democrat from Corning, favors a tax code that reserves its breaks for those who need them the most, has detailed ideas for a new regulatory system for the financial industry and regrets deeply the damage that has been done to the American military, American security, the American Constitution and American prestige by the misbegotten war in Iraq.

The News really honed in on the Bush-era’s tax cuts for the rich, and how that has practically become the Republican Party’s answer to everything.

State Assembly Continue reading

Louise Slaughter (NY-28) on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station

21 Feb

Last week, during a meeting with the Air Force, I received news from Major General Charles Stenner, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs for the Air Force, that 12 C-130H2 aircraft will be delivered to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) by July 2008. This is truly great news for a base that is vital not only to the security of our nation, but to the economies of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Frankly, it is quite an extraordinary achievement given that only three years ago the Pentagon recommended the Base be shut down.

In early 2005, NFARS was included on the list of recommended base closures put forth by the Department of Defense as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. As a major source of employment, closing the Base would have resulted in a catastrophic blow to the Western New York economy. Additionally, it would have negatively affected our national security due to its strategic location along a highly-trafficked border.

I, along with several of my fellow New York colleagues worked tirelessly to ensure that the Pentagon’s ill-advised proposal would never come to fruition. Our work to preserve NFARS paid off and the Base has remained open.

Now, in demonstration of the important contribution to national security that NFARS provides, the Air Force has guaranteed that the 12 C-130H2 aircraft necessary to sustain the Base will be delivered by this July. To put this achievement into perspective, we must consider that the cargo planes were initially not scheduled to arrive until the summer of 2010. By pushing up the delivery date by two years, the Pentagon is exhibiting a renewed dedication to the Niagara Air Base.

Securing the C-130H2 planes two years ahead of schedule is very encouraging news for Western New York. I will continue to ensure that the Base remains both an engine of economic growth for the region and an asset to the nation’s defense structure for generations to come.