Did You Know?

  1. US Senators' average annual stock performance beat the market average by approximately 12.3%, while stock purchases made by corporate insiders on average outperform the market by 7.4% and stock portfolios of the average US household underperform the market by 1.5%.

  2. Insider trading was not federally regulated until 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Securities Exchange Act following the 1929 stock market crash.

  3. William Duer, who was appointed the first Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in 1789, was the first known inside trader. He used his official position to gain inside information for speculating in the newly formed US investment market.

  4. In 2007, the 10 wealthiest US Senators traded stocks in a total of 45 different companies spanning finance, insurance, oil, pharmaceutical, telecom, and other industries. Those 45 businesses also received $18 billion in federal appropriations that same year.

  5. Congressman Oakes Ames was censured by Congress in 1873 for bribing other Representatives to avoid investigating his illicit government contracts that profited the railroad and construction companies in which he was a stockholder.

  6. Although commonly considered illegal, insider trading can also be legal.

  7. A person who is convicted of insider trading can be fined up to $5,000,000 and/or imprisoned up to 20 years.

  8. A person is not subject to imprisonment for insider trading if it can be proven that he/she had no knowledge of the rule or regulation that was violated.

  9. After the market crash of 1929, JP Morgan & Co. gave guaranteed profits and sold specially discounted stocks to select clients including former President Calvin Coolidge, then sitting Treasury Secretary, chairmen of both the Republican and Democratic national committees, and CEOs of General Electric, AT&T, and Standard Oil.

  10. Until 1977 Congressional representatives had no restrictions on their non-congressional income and no rules about disclosing their finances and investments to the public.

  11. Employees of 817 executive agencies, 17 executive offices, and 132 independent agencies are prohibited from trading stocks based on insider government information.

  12. The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, a bill extending insider trading regulations to the legislative branch, gained 85 new co-sponsors over five days following a Nov. 13, 2011 60 Minutes report alleging that several members of Congress used insider information for personal gain.

  13. Article I of the US Constitution gives Congress the authority to discipline its members for financial wrongdoing.

  14. On July 11, 1958, the US Congress established a Code of Ethics for Government Service that states that Congressmen should "never use any information coming to him confidentially in the performance of governmental duties as a means for making private profit,” but the Senate Ethics Manual says the Code has never been used as a basis for Senate disciplinary action.

  15. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 requires online posting of representatives’ financial disclosure reports.