Bringing Political Intelligence Agents Out of the Shadows PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 23 March 2012 14:29

Senator Chuck Grassley will continue to work to enact legislation requiring the agents of the $400 million political intelligence industry to disclose their interests, as lobbyists do. These operatives collect information from Congress and federal agencies and sell the information to Wall Street firms. This week, the majority leader of the United States Senate dealt a blow for good government and transparency by using his power to shut out Senator Grassley’s effort.  It was a victory for Wall Street and those who prefer the secrecy of the status quo.  It was a defeat for the American people and the overwhelming majority in Congress that supports the legislation.

Click here for the audio clip.

Here is the text of the address:

This week, the majority leader of the United States Senate used his power to shut out my effort to require political intelligence agents to register, as lobbyists do.

At a growing rate, political intelligence professionals collect information from Congress and federal agencies and sell the information to Wall Street firms.  The firms use the information to buy and sell stocks and presumably profit.  My proposal is focused on the people who make their living gathering information and selling it to Wall Street.  It specifically exempts reporters from any disclosure requirements.

A Washington Post news story this week said the political intelligence amendment, combined an enhanced prosecution amendment by Senator Leahy, which also was dropped, “transformed the (insider trading) bill into the most sweeping ethics legislation Congress had considered since 2007.”

The decision to scrap a requirement for registration by political intelligence professionals is a blow for good government and transparency.  It’s a victory for Wall Street and a defeat for the American people.  It’s a victory for those who prefer the secrecy of the status quo.

 

The reform had the support of 60 senators in a vote earlier this year, and the original House bill has 286 co-sponsors.  So, even though political intelligence registration got left out of this bill, I’ll keep looking for ways to bring it back.

 

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