Reporting from Washington — Bill-signing ceremonies are pretty rare events in these times of gridlock and congressional backlog; so are moments of bipartisan backslapping and handshaking. But both happened briefly today when President Obama, surrounded by a few actual Republicans, signed and praised legislation passed by Congress.
The measure was the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, better known was the STOCK Act. A long-lingering piece of legislation, it shot to the top of the priority list after a "60 Minutes" investigation highlighted instances of what the program called congressional "insider trading" -- lawmakers using information gleaned on the job, "non-public information," for personal profit.
The STOCK Act affirms that lawmakers and staff are not exempt from federal insider-trading laws and gives the House and Senate ethics committees the authority to enforce new rules. It also requires lawmakers to disclose more information about their stock trades.
The bill as it passed was watered down in the House, angering some advocates. The House stripped out a provision that would have required people who gather "political intelligence" to register as lobbyists, and left out measures relating to prosecuting corruption.