Members of Congress Declare "Immunity" from Insider Trading Probe
House panel refuses to submit to SEC subpeonas
The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is refusing to cooperate with an insider trading investigation, saying its employees are “absolutely immune” from having to comply with subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Gardephe ordered the committee last week to explain why it hadn’t responded to the SEC’s year-long request for documents, phone records and the testimony of staff director Brian Sutter, as part of a probe into whether he or other House members leaked private information about health care policy to insurance companies.
Rather than turning over the information, top House lawyer Kerry W. Kircher answered the order by requesting that the case be dismissed.
Kircher claimed that the request for documents violates the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution, which protects members of Congress from outside inquiry into “legislative acts” during their time in office.