TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

House waves off subpoenas from SEC in insider-trading probe

Daily Photo Galleries

By Bloomberg News
Friday, July 4, 2014, 8:42 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — The House Ways and Means Committee and a top staffer said the panel and its employees are “absolutely immune” from having to comply with subpoenas from a federal regulator in an insider-trading probe.

The committee on Friday responded to U.S. District Court Judge Paul Gardephe's order to explain why it had not complied with the Securities and Exchange Commission's requests for documents, phone records and testimony of aide Brian Sutter for more than a year. Gardephe gave the House until Friday to answer.

Kerry W. Kircher, the top lawyer for the House, said the SEC's request should be dismissed because the information it seeks concerns legislative activities protected by the Constitution, which cannot be reviewed by federal judges. If Gardephe won't dismiss the SEC's case, it should be transferred to federal court in Washington, Kircher said.

“What the SEC has done is embark on a remarkable fishing expedition for congressional records — core legislative records,” Kircher said in a court filing. “The SEC invites the federal judiciary to enforce those administrative subpoenas as against the Legislative Branch of the federal government. This court should decline that invitation.”

The so-called speech and debate clause in the Constitution protects members of Congress and staff from any outside inquiry into legislative business.

The SEC sought the subpoenas in an investigation testing the limits of federal insider-trading laws on whether the committee or staff members illegally passed on nonpublic information about a change in U.S. health care policy. In seeking compliance with the subpoena demand, the SEC cited a 2012 law that requires public officials to keep confidential any nonpublic information about government matters that could move stock prices.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Meteor lights up night sky above eastern U.S.
  2. Medal of Honor awarded to veterans of Vietnam War
  3. Black lung disease on rise in Appalachia
  4. House preps to aid rebels
  5. House preps resolution to aid Syrian rebels, combat ISIS
  6. Medal of Honor awarded to veterans of Vietnam War
  7. Rare respiratory illness reported in at least 10 states
  8. Florida socialite’s lawsuit vs. feds in Petraeus scandal OK’d to proceed
  9. Girl accused in stabbing to please ‘Slender Man’ to undergo competency examination
  10. Coverage in jeopardy for 115K Obamacare enrollees
  11. U.S. will increase aid to Ebola-stricken Africa
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.