Slaughter asks law firm to disclose relationships

By WILL ASTOR - 4/25/2013 4:03:14 PM

Citing her role as an author of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, is calling on a powerful lobbying firm to name its political intelligence clients and disclose fees it collects from them.

In an Apr. 25 letter, Slaughter called on Richard Rosenbaum CEO of Greenberg Traurig LLP to publicly spell out and detail its political intelligence contacts.

Political intelligence consultants use Congressional connections to ferret out information that can affect stock prices. They then collect fees for giving clients information on such developments before other investors get wind of them.

Her letter to Rosenbaum follows press reports that Greenberg Traurig passed “market moving” information to a firm called Height Analytics LLC that earlier this month sparked a $660 million spike in health-firm share prices, Slaughter states in the missive. 

Passed and signed into law last year, the STOCK Act for the first time put members of Congress under the same insider-trading restrictions that Congress had long ago imposed on company executives and directors.

As she first drafted the bill, the STOCK Act required political intelligence consultants to register as lobbyists, but the House Republican majority stripped that provision from the final version, “without compromise or opportunity to offer amendments.”

“It is my strong belief that Congress and the public deserve to know who is conducting political intelligence activities, what those activities are and the extent to which lobbying firms such as yours participate,” Slaughter told Rosenbaum.

Specifically, she called for Greenberg Traurig to:
Identify all of its current and past political intelligence relationships;
State the duration of such relationships;
Disclose fees collected for supplying political intelligence; and
Describe its methods for disseminating political intelligence.

Slaughter’s call to for the Greenberg Traurig disclosures follows a measure introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., passed by both houses and signed into law by President Barack Obama last week that critics have decried as weakening the STOCK Act’s ability to deter insider trading  

Signed into law Apr. 15, the Reid amendments cancel STOCK Act provisions that required members of Congress, Congressional staffers the president, vice president and other high-level federal officials to post searchable records of their stock transactions.

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