Here's some analysis courtesy of Ken Gross and his team at Skadden Arps about how this might impact companies:
The version of the STOCK Act passed by Congress includes the provisions from the Senate's initial version that the insider trading provisions in Section 10(b) of the '34 Act and Rule 10b-5 apply to Congressional Members and staff, and federal executive and judicial branch officials, and that these Members, officials and employees owe a duty with respect to material, nonpublic information derived from the person's position with the federal government.
This raises an interesting question as to the companies with whom these Members, officials and employees share the nonpublic information. Do the companies become liable if they act on such information, similar to certain "tipees" in a traditional insider trading case? We believe that the STOCK Act could indeed create liability for the company under certain circumstances that are highly fact-specific. This also raises a question as to how extensive the protection is under the Speech or Debate Clause.
The Act includes a requirement (also in the Senate's initial version) that the Comptroller General submit a report to Congress within 12 months of the date of enactment on the role of "Political Intelligence" in financial markets. It does not include the provisions from the Senate's initial version that would have amended the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (by adding a new category of activities, "Political Intelligence Contacts," that would trigger registration and reporting) and the illegal gratuities statute (by broadening the scope of the statute).
Given that they do not specify an effective date or reference a date by which an implementing regulation must take effect, the insider trading provisions take effect upon the date of enactment.