House GOP introduces version of insider trading bill

David Gura Feb 8, 2012

David Brancaccio: House Republicans have introduced their version of a bill that would ban insider trading by lawmakers. In it, they’ve removed provisions in the Senate bill that would have helped track the many men and women in Washington who traffic in what’s called “political intelligence.”

Marketplace’s David Gura reports.

David Gura: Policymakers, and people trying to make changes to policy, are always on the lookout for good information.  James Thurber is a professor at American University.

James Thurber: Political intelligence in Washington is a very valuable commodity.

Political intelligence is more than just the words in a bill, or who supports an amendment.  Paul Equale runs a consulting firm, and pPolitical intelligence used to be part of his portfolio. 

Paul Equale: It’s the ability to put it into some kind of context that is meaningful, so that observers can figure out the likelihood of one event occurring, or not occurring.

And he says there are plenty of buyers willing to pay top dollar for that kind of information.

Equale: News media, investment firms, corporations — any number of entities that have an interest in what may or may not happen on Capitol Hill.

The Senate’s version of this bill would’ve required political intelligence firms to register with the government, to file disclosure forms. The political intelligence industry objects to that, and House Republicans say the rules, as they’re written, are too vague.

In Washington, I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

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