AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Opinion

March 3, 2012

Time's right to close gov't data loophole

It's generally recognized that knowledge is power. That's why some knowledge deserves equal treatment.

Perhaps that assessment is most appropriate when it comes to information held by government.

Government data and the collection of information, after all, comes courtesy of tax dollars, so everyone should have equal access to its benefits.

But the reality is that those inside government - and those who make their livelihoods by knowing what government knows - are better positioned to obtain these details. That's just the way it is.

However, knowing something and using that knowledge for your personal benefit are two different matters. When people use government data that's not readily available to the public in order to obtain financial gain, that's unethical in our view.

Unethical, perhaps, but still legal. At least that's the situation right now.

But measures passed by the U.S. Senate and by the House of Representatives seek to minimize this problem. Whether a final version of the legislation - to be hammered out in a House-Senate conference committee - creates a truly level playing field remains uncertain.

Relatively quick action on the problem of insider trading with government information came following news reports last year that highlighted the issue.

Concerns were raised that knowledge of government activities and related information was being used by some officials to buy and sell stock for their benefit or the benefit of people close to them.

While insider trading with the use of corporate information long has been illegal, it isn't that way with government information. The just-passed measures are intended to address this problem.

But there are concerns the bill passed by the House would be less effective than the Senate version. Bowing to pressure from Wall Street lobbyists, top Republicans in the House removed rules that imposed restrictions on private individuals who had special access to government information.

This is a gap that would encourage all manner of abuses down the road. And it has drawn criticism from a variety of sources, including Senate Republicans.

We're glad that lawmakers finally are working to close a significant fairness loophole.

But they need to make every effort to close it completely.

Published Feb. 25, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Forced-pooling hearing should include those affected

    It's hard, after all we’ve seen, to imagine that the long-simmering debate about fracking for natural gas is as simple as either side says it is.

    April 18, 2014

  • Protecting reporters and the right to know

    If it had been solely up to government officials at the time, how much do you think Americans would have learned about the Watergate break-in and the White House cover-up that followed? Maybe nothing.

    March 12, 2014

  • Dispute over meetings warrants public attention

    Something funny is going on in Pulaski Township.

    February 7, 2014

  • Mister Rogers vs. the Unity Tree

    I was walking by Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue last week when struck by our city’s “Unity Tree.” It’s a curious thing about the Unity Tree: it only comes out at Christmas time — yes, Christmas.

    January 17, 2014

  • Drilling anywhere in PA has implications for all

    If you drink water, read this.

    January 10, 2014

  • Sudden snow sometimes creates idiots on roads

    Spring in December seemed to have sprung last Saturday when the sun was shining and the mercury rose above 40 degrees. The prediction of freezing rain for Sunday appeared way off the mark.

    January 3, 2014

  • Online gambling study ordered for Pennsylvania

    Coming on the heels of a report noting that total revenue from Pennsylvania slot machines for November was down 1.3 percent from last November, the state Senate recently passed a resolution, calling for a study of gambling in Pennsylvania, including the possibility of legalizing online gambling.

    January 3, 2014

  • Obamacare stumbles over the basics of signups

    Every new program is bound to have a few glitches. But what’s happening right now with the nation’s new health insurance program and online signup efforts is disturbing. And it creates uncertainty regarding the entire concept of health care reform.

    November 26, 2013

  • Anti-cyberbullying efforts may be having effect

    Parents everywhere must be rejoicing, because a new poll suggests that cyberbullying among students seems to be decreasing.

    November 26, 2013

  • A veteran, 90, recalls Patton, Ike, freedom

    I recently took my two teenage sons to a talk by Frank Kravetz, a 90-year-old World War II veteran who survived Hitler’s Nuremberg prisons. Frank published his story in a memoir, “Eleven Two: One WWII Airman’s Story of Capture, Survival and Freedom.”

    November 26, 2013

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide