Grassley: Congress needs to 'rein in' political intelligence industry

Grassley said “the American people have a right to know” who is seeking and selling government information to clients who intend to use it to trade stocks.

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“Congress needs to rein in Washington’s secret merry-go-round to protect the taxpaying public from being taken for a ride,” Grassley said Monday. “Since they finance the government, the American people have a right to know who gleans and who gains from the sale of government information. The knowledge belongs to the people, and if it’s being bought or sold, the American people should know who is doing the buying and selling.”

Grassley tried to add reforms to the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act that would have required the same kind of disclosure requirements that lobbyists and campaigns have for people with “inside government information” who profit on Wall Street by trading on knowledge of legislation and regulations. But his amendment was later stripped from the bill.

“The political intelligence industry is open for business, operating behind closed doors out of the public’s eye,” Grassley said. “After digging up information in the halls of Congress and nosing around the federal bureaucracy, the political intelligence industry is profiting from nonpublic government information that Main Street does not have and that Wall Street is secretly buying. These nuggets can turn into a potential gold mine for those who pay for it and hold an advantage in the market.”

Grassley vowed to continue his “crusade to champion good governance measures” in Washington by demanding transparency and accountability from political intelligence gatherers.