|My Fellow Americans:|
If you have not yet seen my weekly article, this is most critical that you take a moment and understand what has recently been passed into law. It's not only how Congress votes on legislation but what they are actually voting for or against. The “Stock Act,” at first glance, is touted as good law. When one reads the law, one now sees that it's packed with loopholes and not quite the law that is “prohibiting” Congress from acting in an illegal fashion and certainly doesn't restore trust to the American people. This is why ethics and solid leadership must be restored in Washington. This is why we need a rock-solid researcher, an excellent communicator and a voice for us in District 22.
The “STOCK Act” – Fiduciary Responsibility Finally Imposed on Congress…Are we sure about that?
It is crucial that we address the recently-passed “STOCK Act,” which is the “Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012.” As one should be judged by his performance and the basis for a pink slip in the workplace, the same should hold true for Congress’ job performance. This is why the vetting process is so crucial during an election cycle.
Olson, Congressional District 22's rep, posted on February 24, once again chest beating, that passage of this legislation was “to strengthen existing rules that prohibit Members of Congress from benefitting from insider information…to use nonpublic information for their own financial gain.” Olson further wrote that “The bill makes clear that Members of Congress…are prohibited from using nonpublic information for private profit…[and] adds a new requirement for Members to report mortgages on personal residences on their annual disclosure report and prevents congressional and executive branch officials from gaining preferential access to initial public offerings. Additionally, Members of Congress who are convicted of a crime are prohibited from receiving a taxpayer-funded pension after the fact.”
Interestingly enough, while we are bogged down with a healthcare bill that's almost 3,000 pages, the NDAA law that's almost 600 pages, Congress does illustrate that it is able to write a 14.5-page law. If one was to write a 3,000- or 600-page brief in law school, one would not only flunk that course but perhaps not even graduate from law school.
Ironically, Olson left out key issues in his comments.
Congress' verbiage takes precedence over the 364-page Securities Exchange Act of 1934. With regard to the use of nonpublic information for private profit, what is written is that “The Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate and the Committee on Ethics of the House of Representatives shall issue interpretive guidance of the relevant rules of each chamber, including rules on conflicts of interest and gifts.” Interpretive guidance by Congress about Congress?
Second, “Congress owes a duty arising from a relationship of trust and confidence to the Congress.” This is all Congress could muster after “working” on this for the last eight years when this is already expected?
Third, prompt reporting of financial transactions. Unlike the stringent requirement of SEC license holders-which I was-to adhere to SEC rules and regulations, Congress allows its members to file not later than 30 days...wait, perhaps 45 days…wait, Congress may be subject to waivers and exclusions. So how is one “prevented” from committing a crime with an approved waiver or exclusion? Martha, you should have been a member of Congress.
Fourth, disclosure of financial forms. Yes, indeed, the public will have access to financial disclosure reports but (1) Congress is still able to maintain blind trusts; and, (2) reports are destroyed after six years after serving in Congress.
Fifth, requiring mortgage disclosure. “Spouse, except that this exception shall not apply to a reporting individual,” or if an individual is appointed as a Foreign Service Officer below the rank of ambassador, the pay grade is 0-6 or below. Seriously?
Sixth, criminal offenses. The offense is “only to the extent that the offense is a felony.”
Seventh, limitation of bonuses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives. Senior executives are no longer to receive bonuses during any period of conservatorship for either entity.
The looming questions posed: What is the likelihood that the “Select Committee on Ethics” will decide that a felony has been committed, that a waiver was unacceptable in filing financial and prompt reports, that a blind trust was unacceptable and that mortgage nondisclosure was unacceptable? What are the odds that a single member of Congress will have his taxpayer-funded pensions denied-which is not outlined in the verbiage? Once again, we are held to a different standard than Congress…but it’s good law that’s been passed.
Are you convinced that Congress has, indeed, restored the “sacred duty to the American people”? Are you convinced that Congress is no longer “benefiting” and now “prohibited,” as Olson portrayed? No wonder Olson voted for this 14.5 page bill. Carlson would have led on the House floor that this is unconstitutionally exclusionary law and that Congress must adhere to the same rules and regulations as SEC license holders and every other citizen. Carlson would have voted against this bill in this form.
Do peruse Barbara’s educational website at www.Carlson22.com.
We need leadership in Washington. We need Barbara Carlson, the leader who will always shoot straight with her constituents and expect accountability in Congress. Barbara won the prestigious National Sales Leadership Award with Oracle, based on the highest ethics and her excellent leadership skills.
We cannot get it wrong this time.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE FOR BARBARA CARLSON ON MAY 29th.
Barbara Carlson for US Congress