CBS report it’s legal for Congress to trade on insider info

According to a 60 mins report, when Congress wrote insider trading rules, they exempted themselves. And some of them are reportedly trading their asses off on insider info legally.

(CBS News) — In mid September 2008 with the Dow Jones Industrial average still above ten thousand, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were holding closed door briefings with congressional leaders, and privately warning them that a global financial meltdown could occur within a few days. One of those attending was Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus, then the ranking Republican member on the House Financial Services Committee and now its chairman.

Schweizer: These meetings were so sensitive– that they would actually confiscate cell phones and Blackberries going into those meetings. What we know is that those meetings were held one day and literally the next day Congressman Bachus would engage in buying stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had the day before from the Fed chairman and treasury secretary. I mean, talk about a stock tip.

While Congressman Bachus was publicly trying to keep the economy from cratering, he was privately betting that it would, buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down. He would make a variety of trades and profited at a time when most Americans were losing their shirts.

I was a stock broker for many years. I promise you, if I went out and bought put options on a company or an index after attending a meeting with the fed chairmen, where it was revealed the market would crater, it would have meant the end of my career, huge fines, and probably jail time. For these assholes — unlike any other group of Americans — it’s legal, for them just means another profitable day raking in money in a stinking, corrupt system.

A bill was introduced years ago to end that loophole. Would anyone be surprised to hear it has languished in obscurity every year?


  1. d cwilson says

    Congress has long been loathe to allow the laws they pass to apply to themselves. They justify it on a separation of powers argument in that it would be wrong to submit themselves to oversight by an agency of the Executive Branch. Of course, this has also blinded them to the fact that it means that the people who make the rules are themselves above them, something that should be the antithesis of a representative democracy like ours.

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