AP NEWS

Congress Should Apply Ethical Standards To Members, Staff

August 11, 2018

A federal indictment against U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, alleging that he committed securities fraud through insider trading, raises anew the question of why members of Congress are allowed to trade individual securities in the first place. The indictment contends that Collins, a Buffalo, New York, Republican, allegedly used his position as a board member of the Australian pharmaceutical company, Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, to obtain information about a failed clinical trial of a new drug. It alleges that he avoided $768,000 in losses by dumping stock in the company before public news of the failed trial drove down the stock price by 90 percent. Collins’ case isn’t the first involving Congress. As reported by Politico, a Senate Judiciary Committee aide to Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois dumped up to $60,000 worth of stock in the pharmaceutical company Mylan, after correspondence between committee members and the Department of Justice revealed that the company might have violated Medicaid laws. Politico reviewed financial disclosure firms and found a large number of congressional staffers who hold stock in companies with business before the staffers’ committees. The executive branch bars employees from trading securities of companies that come under their regulatory jurisdiction. In the private sector, it is common for news organizations to bar journalists who cover business from trading stocks relative to the industries that they cover. Congress should apply the same simple ethical standards to members and their staffs, who inherently have access to insider information.

AP RADIO
Update hourly