Washington, D.C. - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) urges the Senate to pass the Leahy-Cornyn “Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act” amendment to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act). This amendment, sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), will give law enforcement officials the tools they need to detect and prosecute public corruption. A similar bill, authored by Reps. James Sensenbrenner (D-WI) and Mike Quigley (D-IL), was approved unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee last year.
“With Congress’ approval ratings at all-time lows, members should be eager to prove they have no interest in protecting legislators who violate the law,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Passing the STOCK Act is not enough. Senators of both parties should agree that corrupt public officials must be held accountable."
This amendment in part responds to last year’s Supreme Court decision in Skilling v. United States, which cut back the scope of the Honest Services Fraud statute, frequently used by prosecutors to target self-dealing. It also amends the illegal gratuities statute to prevent public officials from accepting gifts given because of their governmental position, and makes clear public officials who accept private compensation may be subject to prosecution.
Ms. Sloan continued, "Given all the recent congressional scandals, is it any wonder Americans have lost faith in their elected leaders? It will take a lot to restore our confidence, but passing this amendment is at least a step in the right direction."
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.