April 2, 2012

Video: Senator Tom Coburn Says He Trades Stock In The Bathroom, Dismisses Ethics Reform Legislation

Video: Senator Tom Coburn Says He Trades Stock In The Bathroom, Dismisses Ethics Reform Legislation
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Republic Report has been highly critical of the watered down and toothless Stock Act, the recently passed law to curb insider trading in Congress. We had hoped the bill would include Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) political intelligence lobbying registration provision, as well as Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) amendment on blind trusts and some form of Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) lawmaker lobbying ban. But all of these reform ideas, as well as increased power for corruption prosecutors, were struck down by lawmakers, many of whom may be engaged in this type of corruption and did not want to face accountability.

One of the loudest opponents of congressional ethics reform has been Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). As the Stock Act was being debated, Coburn raised eyebrows with his declaration that congressional insider trading does not exist. He voted against the law twice because he “honestly believe[s] everyone in our body is never gonna use insider trading to advantage themselves over the best interests of our country.”

Republic Report caught up with Coburn on Capitol Hill recently to talk about his opposition to any type of new disclosure or corruption reform. At one point in the conversation, Coburn mocked the call for monthly financial transaction disclosures, asking us if he should report every time he goes to the bathroom. Republic Report’s Zaid Jilani followed up, asking, “If you trade stock in the bathroom, we definitely want to know.” Coburn didn’t miss a beat, replying, “Well, I’ do!”

Watch the interview here:

All joking aside, members of Congress avoid scrutiny for their suspicious stock trades and investments because of the broken disclosure laws. Currently, lawmakers report their personal finance information in May of the following year. So we won’t even know how senators may have speculated in companies they oversee and regulate until months, sometimes a year, after the trades occur.