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Senate Votes to Stop Stock Disclosures While Staff Gets Special Access

The Senate yesterday quietly passed a bill that would keep legislative and executive branch staff stock transactions from being made public on the Internet. This action comes shortly after the Federal Reserve announced it had inadvertently released early its highly market-sensitive minutes of its March meeting to 154 individuals, many of whom are Senate staff.

It is not known at this time if there were any trades related to the early release of the minutes. The Federal Reserve Inspector General is investigating and the Federal Reserve has notified the Securities and Exchange Commission. If the Senate action to amend the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act becomes law it will be a lot harder for the public to double-check government insiders who have access to key financial and market information. Niels Lesniewski’s Roll Call article details the Senate bill.

Senate staff receiving the early email of Federal Reserve minutes include those from the following offices: Ayotte (John Lawrence); Bennet (Brian Appel); Blumenthal (Sam Simon); Boxer (Jackson Droney, Mona Lewandoski); Brown (Graham Steele); Coats (Kate Taylor); Corker (Evan Sharber, Michael Bright); Crapo (Gregg Richard); Hagan (Andrew Devlin); Hoeven (Emily Tryon); Johnson (Drey Samuelson); Kirk (Sue Sweet); Lee (Ryan McKeon); McConnell (Rohit Kumar); Merkley (Andrew Green); Moran (William Ruder); Reed (Aaron Hernandez, James Ahn, Kara Stein); Reid (Bill Dauster, Cathy Koch, Gavin Parke, Trey Reffett); Schumer (Jonah Crane); Tester (Alison ODonnell); Thune (Ryan Jensen); Toomey (Daniel Brandt, Dina Ellis); Vitter (Travis Johnson); Warner (Michele Maiwurm); and Wicker (Bob Foster, Evelyn Fortier, Kern Hoff, Taylor Nicolas).

Senate committee staff receiving the email include: Banking (Charles Yi, Glen Sears, Jeffrey Siegel, Laura Swanson, Jelena McWilliams, Mike Lee, Mike Piwowar, Sam Gilford, Sam Oblack); Budget (Brian Scholl); Finance (Jeff Wrase); Health Education Labor & Pensions (Lindsay Seidman); Joint Economic Committee (Gail Cohen, Jeff Schlagenhauf, Matt Salomon, Robert O’Quinn); and Republican Policy Committee (Dana Barbieri).

An article yesterday on Political MoneyLine listed the non-government recipients of the Federal Reserve email. This kind of special email service from the Federal Reserve may be helpful to some, yet may be unfair to others who might want equal access to similar service but never knew where or who to ask. In Washington, it’s who you know.

It makes you wonder why these government staffers and others on the email list can’t get the meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve website like everyone else.

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