STOCK Act 2.0: New Bill Would Shed Light on Congress' Stock Trades - 2020-09-24
After Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) was exposed for selling more than a million dollars worth of stocks ahead of the February market crash—a period when he was receiving daily briefings on the emerging coronavirus threat—people who wanted to check what other members of Congress had traded stocks faced a daunting task. Senators and representatives have to disclose their financial transactions, but the information is not made available to the public as a database, so watchdogs and journalists had to sift through hundreds of separate reports to look into all 538 federal legislators.
It was not supposed to be this difficult to monitor Congress' stock trades. In 2012, when Congress passed the STOCK Act that required members to begin disclosing their trades, the bill stated that the House Clerk's office and the Secretary of the Senate had to build systems to allow the public to "search, sort, and download data contained in the reports" within 18 months.
But that never happened. Shortly after the STOCK Act became law, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a follow-up measure that repealed the database requirement.