Under the heading of doing the absolute minimum, Congress is on the verge of passing a law that would ban insider trading and force lawmakers to make more timely disclosures about their financial dealings.

It’s absurd such practices have been allowed to continue for so long without congressional representatives doing something about it. Proposals have been kicked around for years, but they drew scant support until a “60 Minutes” segment was aired on the subject late last year.

The “60 Minutes” piece pointed to several examples — including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. — where lawmakers blatantly benefitted financially by having knowledge about information before it became public.

No wonder the public’s view of Congress is so low.

With nowhere to go but up, the Senate passed on Feb. 2 the so-called STOCK Act — Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge — and the House of Representatives did so on Friday.

President Barack Obama says he will sign the measure.

The act will require lawmakers and thousands of executive branch officials to post their stock trades online within 30 days. And the legislation appropriately states that members of Congress and thousands of other federal workers are subject to the same federal anti-fraud laws that prohibit other Americans from making stock trades based on insider knowledge.

These representatives are supposed to be looking out for the American people, not protecting their own interests or, worse yet, privately profiting on information they received under the guise of being a “public servant.”

The STOCK Act deserves support, but Congress still has a long way to rebuild trust with the American people.

— The Poughkeepsie Journal, New York, Feb. 8

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.