02.10.12

Leahy, Casey Urge Senate Leaders To Push For Conference Committee On STOCK Act

Leahy Is Lead Senate Sponsor Of Anti-Corruption Amendment Struck By House Republicans

WASHINGTON (Friday, Feb. 10, 2012) – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, joined by Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) Friday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging the Senate leaders to proceed to a House-Senate conference committee on the STOCK Act to resolve differences between the two bills and restore the anti-corruption amendment Leahy and Republican Senator John Cornyn (Texas) included in the Senate bill.  Casey and Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) cosponsored the amendment.

 

“The anti-corruption amendment adopted by the Senate to the STOCK Act was carefully drafted to avoid ambiguity and lend certainty to the anti-corruption law,” Leahy and Casey wrote.  “It is precisely the type of narrow Federal criminal legislation that critics of white collar statutes have claimed to want, and it closes important gaps in the Nation’s anti-corruption laws.  Public service is an honor and a trust, and public officials in violation of that trust should face severe consequences.”

House Republican leaders struck the Senate’s amendment in the House’s version of the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK Act).  The amendment won overwhelming support in the Senate, and was adopted by a voice vote.  Leahy has sponsored anti-public corruption legislation in each of the last three Congresses.

 

The Senate amendment, which mirrors legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, will strengthen existing federal criminal law for acts of public corruption and raise maximum statutory penalties.  It will restore the crucial honest services fraud statute severely limited by the Supreme Court in 2010, so that prosecutors can once again target undisclosed self-dealing.  The amendment will also clarify the definition of what it means for a public official to perform an “official act,” and amend the federal bribery statute to show that corrupt payment can be made to influence more than one official act.  The legislation also amends the federal gratuities statute to make clear that a public official cannot accept anything of value worth more than $1,000 given to them because of their official position other than as permitted by existing rules or regulations.  

 

The full text of the Leahy-Casey letter follows. For more about the amendment, click here.

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February 10, 2012

The Honorable Harry Reid                                         The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader, United States Senate                      Minority Leader, United States Senate

S-221 Capitol Building                                              S-230 Capitol Building

Washington, DC 20510                                              Washington, DC20510

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:

During the Senate debate of the STOCK Act, we sponsored a bipartisan amendment that strengthens public corruption laws by clarifying the tools that prosecutors have to identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal conduct by public officials.  The Senate adopted the amendment.  The House of Representatives passed a version of the STOCK Act that does not include these anti-corruption provisions. This striking of the Senate-passed provisions greatly weakens the bill.

We write to urge you to proceed by way of a House-Senate conference committee to resolve the differences between the two versions of the bill and strongly urge that the conference restore this crucial provision in order to ensure that there are real consequences for public officials who abuse their position.  

The anti-corruption amendment adopted by the Senate to the STOCK Act was carefully drafted to avoid ambiguity and lend certainty to the anti-corruption law.  It is precisely the type of narrow Federal criminal legislation that critics of white collar statutes have claimed to want, and it closes important gaps in the Nation’s anti-corruption laws.  Public service is an honor and a trust, and public officials in violation of that trust should face severe consequences. 

Sincerely,

PATRICK LEAHY                                                                 ROBERT P. CASEY, JR.                  

United States Senator                                                             United States Senator            

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