Cantor says House will revive and expand insider trading ban

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) says Republicans will revive and expand a bill banning insider trading by members of Congress in the first months of 2012, after he slowed the bill’s progress earlier this month.

The legislation, known as the STOCK Act, had gained momentum after a “60 Minutes” report raised questions about whether lawmakers were personally profiting from the insider information they gleaned from their jobs in the Capitol.

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Cantor had reportedly forced the GOP chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Spencer Bachus (Ala.), to postpone a planned committee vote on the bill earlier this month over concerns that it was advancing too quickly. The majority leader is the subject of his own forthcoming “60 Minutes” profile, and he told CBS News that the House would advance and “build on” the bill in the new year.

"We wanna make sure that the public understands we abhor that kind of conduct," Cantor told CBS. "We're gonna build on the STOCK Act and bring forward a measure that actually deals with all of it so we can take care of any suggestion that a member of Congress somehow uses his or her official position to affect their own personal enrichment."

Pressed on how he would expand the legislation, Cantor mentioned not just prohibiting insider stock trading but also preventing insider real estate deals.

"I think that you can look at examples across the country, of any various levels of government, where unfortunately there are some bad actors, and they've engaged in taking and seizing upon information they have -- and acting on it," he said. "And that means whether they're buying stock or whether they are buying land, allegedly, on inside information that they feel they can profit from that [when] no one else can."

Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) are the authors of the STOCK Act, which had barely more than a dozen co-sponsors before the first “60 Minutes” report but now has 237, a full majority of the House.

“Rep. Walz is happy to see Majority Leader Cantor is finally beginning to understand the importance of passing the STOCK Act,” Walz spokeswoman Sara Severs said. “He stands ready to work with Cantor in the new year to pass the STOCK Act. The American public and a majority of the House want to get this done.”

Cantor’s office has said that Bachus made the decision to postpone the earlier hearing because “a large group of bipartisan members on the committee felt the legislation was flawed and being recklessly moved solely in response to media pressure.”

“Members on both sides of the aisle wanted more time to gather information and develop responsible alternatives,” spokeswoman Laena Fallon said at the time.

Cantor has said he supports “increased disclosure” for members of Congress. “If there is any sense of impropriety or any appearance of that, we should take extra steps to make sure the public's cynicism is addressed. We are not here to be hiding anything,” he said last month.

This post was updated at 2:40 p.m.