The actual meat of the policy argument is perhaps one for another day and another medium, but I thought this was an interesting example of retail politics in the north country: A fella named Bruce Bennett wrote a letter asking for the opinions of the two candidates for Congress, and he got responses from both.
Indeed, that's exactly what Mr. Bennett was hoping for on his question about insider trading: "Furthermore, they might get my support, by making themselves available 100 percent of the time Congress is not in session. They should be in their home district and listening to what the people want them to do. This would also possibly remove them from lobbyist influences in Washington."
Matt Doheny, the Republican who is challenging incumbent Rep. Bill Owens, responded via a letter to the editor, published today. Mr. Doheny has some substantive differences on the STOCK legislation, which Mr. Owens cosponsors.
Mr. Doheny concludes the letter with a hard sell: "To your second point: I am proud to call the north country home. I promise residents that, when elected, I will be available to all people through town halls and office hours as much as humanly possible when Congress is in recess. Mr. Bennett, can we count on your vote this November?"
Mr. Owens handled the Dec. 9 letter to the editor with a phone call to Mr. Bennett, in which he explained to Mr. Bennett that he is a sponsor of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act and that he, too, is dead set against insider trading.
Here's Mr. Doheny with concerns on the bill: "I applaud the intent, but have concerns the legislation will create gaps that don’t exist under the Securities Exchange Act.
One example: The STOCK Act’s insider trading statute would only apply to situations where the material, nonpublic information being used or tipped, pertained to “pending or prospective legislation action.” But members and staffers often learn valuable information at briefings that are unrelated to any legislation."
Mr. Doheny said that Congress should come up with a specific statute that constitutes "insider trading," and apply it to themselves.
Of course, Mr. Doheny knows what he's talking about when he talks about the Securities Exchange Act. He has experience on Wall Street as a former portfolio manager at Deutsche Bank Securities and at Fintech Advisory.