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U.S. House approves ban on insider trading with omission

(Xinhua)

15:21, February 10, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House on Thursday joined the Senate in voting against insider trading by members of Congress and other government officials amid a record-low public approval rating of the Congress's job.

The 417-2 vote came after the Senate 96-3 approval, which shows how eager both chambers are united in trying to dig Congress out from dismal approval ratings.

A Gallup poll on Wednesday showed that a record-low 10 percent of Americans approve of the way lawmakers work.

The bill is entitled the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act. President Barack Obama endorsed it in his recent State of the Union address.

But the House version omitted a Senate provision that would set a new disclosure requirement for companies or lobbyists who gather political information and sell it to investors.

Obama's spokesman Jay Carney criticized the changes. He said the Senate legislation "is being weakened behind closed doors" under pressure from Wall Street lobbyists.

Interest groups representing the securities and investment industry have given a total of 18.78 million U.S. dollars to members of the House during July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011, according to Maplight, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics.

The lobbyists, or so-called "political intelligence agencies", are especially valuable to the securities and investment industry including hedge funds, private equity and investment banks, according Maplight.

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