Tim Walz's STOCK Act approved by House, Senate

Today, the U.S. House followed the Senate and passed a Congressional insider trading ban originally introduced by Mankato Democrat Tim Walz.

The so-called STOCK Act proved extremely popular in both the chambers, with the House passing the legislation on a 417-2 vote and 96 senators supporting their version of the bill.

But the House version was weakened in recent days, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, stripping out a key provision that would've required so-called political intelligence firms to register like lobbyists.

MPR reports that during a press conference on Tuesday, "Walz seemed despondent about the backroom deal making that was reportedly taking place between Cantor and lobbyists concerned about new, tighter disclosure requirements."

Regarding Cantor's comment that his last-minute move to drop the political intel registration requirement "strengthened" the bill, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY and the bill's primary co-sponsor, said "I think strengthening here is a euphemism for weakening."

Nonetheless, both versions of the bill ban lawmakers from using their non-public knowledge of pending or in-development legislation when managing their financial portfolios. For example, a recent study by investment advisers at The Motley Fool concluded that Congress members were exceptionally active in trading financial company shares in the weeks leading up to the TARP legislation of October 2008, suggesting they used their policy knowledge for their own financial benefit.

The bill is now headed to a special committee of lawmakers tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions before it can be sent to President Obama for his signature. Obama indicated at his State of the Union speech that he is eager to sign the bill.

-- Tim Walz's proposed ban on Congress insider trading advancing quickly [VIDEO]

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