Issa supports imposing clearer ethics rules on congressional stock trading

A CBS report that Issa called "appropriately concerned" last weekend alleged House leaders, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are getting rich by trading stock based on information they access through their positions in Congress. Such a practice, which has been denied by Boehner and Pelosi, is not technically against the law. Issa noted that most accountants tell their clients to follow such "technically legal" practices when it comes to stock trading, but that members of Congress might need additional guidance.

"We do have to have some clear rules about what is unethical if we're going to support that kind of change, and I support that," Issa said on CNBC. "These are ethics changes that we do need to put on ourselves."


Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, added that his committee oversees the executive branch and has no jurisdiction over Congress. He said his area of concern is typically that departments within the administration are leaking information and participating in "making laws that are favorable" to outside firms.

"So although I'm barred from dealing with current members of Congress, I can tell you our committee is very concerned, particularly [about] staffers who recieved favorable loans they couldn't explain and then helped with leigislation that put us in this pickle," he said. 

"I do believe that the Ethics Committee has to be more active," he said, "and once they see wrongdoing, more transparent."

Issa recommended setting "some sort of a bar" that he and other members of Congress could follow that would set "clear rules of the road" on the difference between what is legal and what is ethical when it comes to issues such as trading stock.