4:30 pm Mar. 6, 2012
The New York Times reported this morning that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is prepared to compromise on a bill to ban insider trading by members of Congress and accept a weaker version passed by the House, rather than fight through the multiple votes it might take to set up a conference committee.
The story included some grumbling from unsympathetic senators, but didn't poll Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who helped push the bill in the Senate, and worked to strengthen its provisions after some initial skepticism.
A spokesman for Gillibrand said today that she would work to enact the tougher regulations outlined in the original version, regardless of what provisions ended up in the compromise bill.
"Kirsten prefers the stronger Senate bill she passed last month and has been advocating for the reforms stripped by House Republicans to remain in the final legislation to be signed by the President," said Glen Caplin, a spokesman, in a statement. "Senator Gillibrand stated from the beginning—her mission was to pass a strong bill with teeth to make it clear any insider trading by members of Congress, their staff and their families is clearly and expressly illegal. Both underlying bills achieve this goal.
"However, if the stronger Senate version of the bill which takes an important additional step to regulate the political intelligence industry does not move forward, she will work with Senator Grassley on stand-alone legislation to ensure additional disclosure and transparency in Congress."
The primary point of disagreement appears to be the provision that requires companies that deal in "political intelligence" to report their activities in the same manner lobbyists do. Republicans have said the provision is overly broad.
It's not clear how productive such a stand-alone bill would be, since House Republicans already declined to pass the provisions in the Senate bill.