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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Feb. 3

2. STOCK Act Silliness

We here at the Five Dumbest Lab may be critical of corporate America time-to-time -- okay, all the time -- but leave no doubt that we love our country and its representative democracy. Despite our snarky and occasionally belligerent attitude, above all we hold firm the belief that every vote does indeed count.

And it's for that patriotic reason why we needed to find out what Senators Tom Coburn (R, Okla.) and Richard Burr (R, N.C.) were thinking when they voted against the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act on Monday.

Seriously! The vote was 93-to-2 in favor of legislation that would require members of Congress to disclosure new stock transactions on the Internet within 30 days. Furthermore, it explicitly prohibits members of Congress from initiating trades based on non-public information they acquired in their official capacity. The legislation was passed by the Senate late Thursday.

Please tell us guys, why you would choose to stand virtually alone and vote against something as sensible as the STOCK Act, especially after 60 Minutes utterly demolished Congress on the issue in November?

"We're playing a game with the American people," said Coburn. "This isn't going to change anything, except for requiring a bunch of paperwork to entrap people."

Entrap people? Give us a break Tom. We're not talking about Abscam here. We're talking about Speaker John Boehner (R, Ohio) and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.) cashing in when ordinary people can't, and then denying any wrongdoing to Steve Kroft on national TV. Let's be serious Senator. This is pure, unadulterated bipartisan banditry.

"Sen. Burr voted against cloture on the bill because there are already laws in place to address this critical issue," said a spokesman for Senator Burr.

Yes there are, Mr. Senator. But when Spencer Bachus (R, Ala.), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, is profitably day trading General Electric (GE - Get Report) options in the middle of the 2008 financial crisis after getting briefed by top officials at the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, then don't you think it's time they got tightened up a bit?

No? Well, we do. And it's clear we aren't in the minority on this one.
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