June 23, 2017

Congressional Corruption – Members Exempted from Insider Trading Laws

Oh yeah, you read that title right! Can you flippin  believe this? Unfortunately I can but my blood boils as my fingers furiously type this! Are you kidding? Nope. These bastards know no limits to their greed and corruption. I hope this pisses you off as much as does me. This isn’t a Republican issue and it isn’t a Democrat issue. This is an American issue and all of us – liberal, conservative, red, blue, Republican, Democrat – every damn one of us need to boot out the establishment in 2012 and send a fresh batch of congressmen and senators to Washington with a crystal clear message and mandate: get rid of the hypocrisy, corruption and shrink government in massive ways and turn this ship back over to the people. Collectively, we’ll do a much better JOB creating jobs and we’ll manage our money much better than these greedy corrupt bastards.

Here are some reports and excerpts from other sources regarding Congressional Insider Trading:

Forbes

You want strict ethics rules? Start at the top — with the shining example of the noble knights of the House of Representatives, which bans all gifts from lobbyists and imposes a $50 limit on gifts from anyone else. And no, you can’t give an infinite number of $49 gifts to Larry Lawmaker. Sayeth the holy rulebook.

Okay, so maybe you can give an infinite number of $9.99 gifts, and meals are specifically designated as such. Feel free to make your case to Rep. Portentous over a daily lunch at Arby’s. But still: pretty tight rules, eh?

Except that one thing you can do as a member is study pending legislation and regulatory changes, call up your broker and instruct him to trade on that nonpublic information. Do this as often as you want; you will suffer no penalty. There is no limit to how much money you can earn on insider trading in the House or Senate. Lawmakers and their staffers are specifically exempted.

Doesn’t that give you a cozy feeling, knowing that nonpublic securities info is helping make your friendly local politician more secure as he daydreams new ways to prevent, limit, or appropriate for his own reelection purposes – sorry, the needs of the Republic!– your financial success?

Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—Chris Miller nearly doubled his $3,500 stock investment in a renewable-energy firm in 2008. It was a perfectly legal bet, but he’s no ordinary investor.

Mr. Miller is the top energy-policy adviser to Nevada Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who helped pass legislation that wound up benefiting the firm.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid’s office, initially defended Mr. Miller’s purchase of shares in the company, Energy Conversion Devices Inc. He said the aide had no influence over tax incentives for renewable-energy firms, and that other factors boosted the stock.

 But on Sunday, Mr. Manley added: “Mr. Miller showed poor judgment and Senator Reid has made it very clear to Chris and all his staff that their actions must not only follow the law, but must meet the higher standards the public has a right to expect from elected officials and their staffs.”

Mr. Miller isn’t the only Congressional staffer making such stock bets. At least 72 aides on both sides of the aisle traded shares of companies that their bosses help oversee, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of more than 3,000 disclosure forms covering trading activity by Capitol Hill staffers for 2008 and 2009.

The Journal analysis showed that an aide to a Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee bought Bank of America Corp. stock before results of last year’s government stress tests eased investor concerns about the health of the banking industry. A top aide to the House Speaker profited by trading shares of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in a brokerage account with her husband two days before the government authorized emergency funding for the companies. Another aide to Republican lawmakers interested in energy issues, among other things, profited by trading in several renewable-energy firms.

An analysis of financial-disclosure forms for 2008 and 2009 compiled by the website LegiStorm shows that several hundred congressional aides bought or sold stocks. At least 72 traded the stocks of companies their bosses write laws for.

A number of aides invested in financial stocks. Karen Brown, an aide to Sen. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), a Senate Banking Committee member, traded Bank of America stock on seven occasions in 2009, according to filings. She bought a total of between $3,003 and $45,000 of the bank’s shares in three trades on April 17 and April 27 and sold between $51,002 and $115,000 in September. Her minimum gain during that period would have been 43%.

At the time of the purchases, Bank of America was discussing with the government the findings of “stress tests” used to gauge the safety of U.S. banks. On May 7, 2009, BofA shares surged when the stress-test results were made public, easing investor fears.

After it was contacted by the Journal, Mr. Crapo’s office said the trades were made by Mrs. Brown’s husband, “independent of any direction from Mrs. Brown.” The office said Mrs. Brown has since filed an amended financial-disclosure form.

Terri McCullough, a 41-year-old aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had several successful trades in 2008 in a Charles Schwab brokerage account with her husband, Howard Wolfson, a former spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Mr. Wolfson says he bought about $2,000 worth of Freddie Mac and $2,700 worth of Fannie Mae on July 11, 2008, just two days before the Fed authorized emergency funding to Freddie and Fannie. Mr. Wolfson says he bought the stock after reading a news story on the possibility of the U.S. taking over one or both mortgage-finance companies.

As the Speaker of the House, Ms. Pelosi was briefed by the administration and Treasury Department officials about the steps they were taking in the financial crisis. Ms. McCullough served as Ms. Pelosi’s chief of staff, though she focuses on social issues and matters concerning Ms. Pelosi’s San Francisco-area district.

In one day Mr. Wolfson bought and sold Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shares as the stocks jumped about 40%, for a profit of about $2,000, he said. The couple made a total of $20,000 on trading in 2008, he said. Mr. Wolfson says that he made the trades on his own, without telling his wife or getting any information from her.

Ms. McCullough said: “I was not involved in discussions regarding Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and I was unaware of the Bush Administration’s or Congress’s plans regarding them. I do not make trades and had no knowledge of the trades my husband made in 2008 until after they were made.”

READ MORE

 The Atlantic

When Congress isn’t sending billions in taxpayer money to bail out Wall Street firms, some of its legislators appear to be using information unavailable to the general public to personally profit on stock trades.

So says a study just published in Business and Politics. A portfolio that imitates the stock purchases of House members outperforms the market by more than 6 percent in the course of a year, its authors found. “A previous study of the stock returns of U.S. Senators in a leading finance journal indicates that their portfolios show some of the highest excess returns ever recorded over a long period of time, significantly outperforming even hedge fund managers,” they wrote. “Until now, there has been no similar study of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Now we know that from 1985 to 2001, the specific interval used to generate the data, senators do the best, House members follow, and the average American investor brings up the rear.

 

 

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