Following yesterday’s passage in the U.S. Senate of the Federal Stock Act, the New York State Republican Party came out swinging. Per usual, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand — who voted in favor of the bill — is the target of the GOP’s blows.
First and foremost, the Federal Stock Act would make it so insider trading by members of Congress is expressly illegal. In other words, it would be a crime for members of Congress to make stock transactions based on information they’re only privy to because they’re in Congress. It’s been hailed by the Washington Post as the “most substantial debate on congressional ethics in nearly five years.”
Gillibrand voted in favor of the bill — which apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who used the passage of the bill as an excuse to take shots at the junior senator (who happens to be up for re-election this year).
“We’re pleased that Senator Gillibrand has recognized the error of her ways and
is now opposed to congressional insider trading,” Cox says in a
statement. “However, not long ago, when Gillibrand was a member of the
House and privy to inside information on a plethora of topics, her
husband ‘shorted’ housing stocks at least 34 times, giving the couple a
financial windfall as millions of Americans saw the value of their homes
Cox has been chirping about Gillibrand’s husband’s alleged insider trading since it was exposed in a 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal — basically, Gillibrand’s husband, Jonathan, bet against the housing market in several trades he made online.
Now, Cox is requesting that the senator “disclose to the public where
she got the foresight to invest against the housing market at a time
when most of the country was unaware of its imminent collapse.”
Gillibrand’s campaign is none too pleased with Cox’s rehashing of the
issue (as we learned, in detail, during a (ahem) spirited conversation
with her campaign spokesman this afternoon).
Following our conversation, Gillibrand’s spokesman, Glen Caplin, sent us the following response:
“Senator Gillibrand has been a leading advocate for transparency and
accountability in government since her first day in Congress. She was
the first member of Congress to post her official daily schedule, all of
her earmark requests and personal financial information online for her
constituents to see. Since the three unknown Republican candidates are
bankrupt of ideas, they are resorting to peddling tired lies about a
member of the Senator’s family. This an old baseless political attack
that was as untrue then as it is now. New Yorkers deserve better.”