Monday January 30, 2012 | 07:49 PM

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine both support the legislation moving through the Senate this week that bans lawmakers from using inside, or non public, information to profit on the stock market.

Only two senators voted against a procedural motion to clear the way for a final vote on the measure later this week, which grows out of a desire both to quell allegations that some lawmakers may have profited from special knowledge and to address some of the anger the public expressing at congressional dysfunction and gridlock.

The bill, authored by Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., went through the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where Collins is the top Republican.

Collins said in a statement that the bill contains an amendment added by her and committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., making it clear that lawmakers and congressional staff are not exempt from the same insider trading laws that apply to the general public.

"The STOCK Act is intended to affirm that members of Congress are not exempt from our laws prohibiting insider trading,” Collins said.  “While several of the witnesses who appeared at our committee's hearing on the STOCK Act testified that there is no legal exemption for members of Congress, confusion and uncertainty nevertheless persist. Put simply, the STOCK Act is intended to ensure that members of Congress do not profit from trading on insider information. “

Snowe said in a statement that, “When citizens are elected and sent to Congress, they are given a sacred public trust to serve the country, not to use inside information to enrich themselves. I believe any insider trading by members of Congress is inherently wrong, an abrogation of ethical responsibility, and a clear violation of the moral code by which lawmakers should abide,” Snowe added.


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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