House Ways and Means Committee Claims Immunity in SEC Insider Trading Probe

Friday, July 11, 2014
Brian Sutter (photo: Brian Sutter)

The Legislative and Executive branches of government are currently in a standoff over records pertaining to an insider trading investigation.


Officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) want the House Ways and Means Committee to turn over testimony and other records that might reveal if the staff director of the committee’s healthcare subcommittee, Brian Sutter, leaked important details about federal policy changes in April 2013 to a Washington lobbyist, Mark Hayes, before the information became public knowledge.


SEC lawyers filed subpoenas to force the committee to release the documents.


But the committee rejected the attempt, claiming that it is “absolutely immune” from subpoenas and that the federal watchdog agency lacks the constitutional authority to compel a congressional body to do its bidding.


Now, the SEC has asked a federal judge to force the committee’s hand.


House legal counsel has dismissed the lawsuit, calling it “a remarkable fishing expedition for congressional records.”


“This enforcement action appears to be more about making headlines and less about obtaining information pertinent to any viable investigation,” the congressional lawyers wrote to federal Judge Paul Gardephe in New York City, according to The Wall Street Journal.


The committee has also denied the accusation that Sutter of the leak.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

House Attorneys Seek Dismissal of SEC Suit (by Andrew Ackerman, Wall Street Journal)

House Resists S.E.C.’s Insider Trading Inquiry (by Peter Henning, New York Times)

Members of Congress Declare "Immunity" from Insider Trading Probe (by Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams)


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