Senior Editor of Newsweek and Columnist for the Slate Magazine column
Pro to the question "Should Insider Trading by Congress Be Allowed?"
"Given all the problems that demand congressional oversight and activity—the subprime lending mess, Iraq, the Justice Department—it's difficult to see why this far-reaching legislation [the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act], which would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to punish violators, is necessary...
Even if Capitol Hill is plagued by widespread trading based on a perceived informational edge, it doesn't require the same sort of insider-trading charges that are filed against Wall Street malfeasants...In insider trading, the connection is direct, and the profit is sure.
But with legislation, the link between advanced knowledge of a senator's position on an issue and the certainty that a specific stock will benefit as a result is much more tenuous...A lot of things can happen: Multiple committees weigh in; there's the possibility of a filibuster or a veto...
Think about all the professionals who make their living peddling information about what goes on in Washington: law firms, consultants like this guy, lobbyists, and researchers pitching glorified tip sheets to investors. Oh, and news organizations. The 'political intelligence' shops aren't doing anything much different than, say, the Washington Post, National Journal, or the Wall Street Journal. After all, these companies employ Washington-based operatives who spend their days working government contacts to unearth information that isn't available to the public."
Daniel Gross, "Insider Trading, Congressional-Style," Slate Magazine column "Moneybox," May 21, 2007