Will insider-trading bill chill dialogue between contractors, government?

Thursday - 2/23/2012, 6:08pm EST

Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president for national security and procurement policy, TechAmerica

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Talking to their federal customers is a critical part of a contractor's job. But the STOCK Act — short for Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge — could make that more difficult.

The Acquisition Reform Working Group, which is made up of some of the top industry groups, has pointed to a particular provision in the proposed bill, section 17, which would require "political intelligence consultants" to register under the Lobby Disclosure Act.

"The intent of the original bill to eliminate insider trading by legislative and executive branch officials is an understandable concern,"ARWG wrote in a letter to lawmakers. "Section 17 of the bill, however, goes beyond this intent and will have costly, unintended, and non-productive impacts on the reasonable exchange of information necessary to improve the functioning of the federal acquisition process."

The group said the bill's language is sufficiently vague that it could result in "broad reporting requirements for federal government contractors (and others) simply for engaging in the regular and necessary day-to-day communications with their federal customers," the ARWG letter states.

Trey Hodgkins, the senior vice president for National Security and Procurement Policy at TechAmerica, joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss the bill and how it could affect the relationship between the government's acquisition personnel and industry.