House passes ban on insider trading by Congress

WASHINGTON — The House has passed a bill to ban members of Congress and executive branch officials from insider trading. But critics from both parties accuse House Republican leaders of caving in to investment firms by eliminating a proposal to regulate people who try to pry financial information from Congress.

The 417-2 vote Thursday will likely send the bill to a House-Senate conference to reconcile differences with a Senate-passed version of the bill.

The Senate bill included a requirement that people who collect financial information from Congress — and sell it to investment firms — should register like lobbyists and publicly disclose their activities.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, substituted instead a study of the so-called political intelligence community. House Democrats and Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said that move weakens the bill.

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