Obama takes a break for some bipartisanship

Signing ceremonies for Stock Act, Jobs Act emphasize joint efforts

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The Stock Act requires senators, House members, top administration officials and federal judges to report most financial transactions of $1,000 or more within 45 days. Transactions involving widely held mutual funds, pension plans or similar investments are exempt.

“The president seized on the public outrage, urged Congress to quickly pass legislation and then wasted no time signing the bill into law,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Though Ms. Sloan accused the House of weakening the Stock Act, she said she still favors the new law because it will force members to disclose their stock trades, enabling the public to compare them with congressional action.

Some legal experts doubted the need for an additional law aimed specifically at lawmakers’ activity, considering that existing laws prohibiting insider trading are supposed to apply to everyone.

Tamar Frankel, a law professor at Boston University, suggested the law passed because it gives both sides something to agree on in an otherwise hotly partisan climate.

“I am not sure that we needed a law to specify these prohibitions in misappropriating insider information that they received in the performance of their functions,” she said. “But if the statute is a way to bring the warring parties to agree on something, the statute is welcome.”

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