Insiders

Are you angry at Congress? Get angrier, my friends:

Peter Schweizer is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University. A year ago he began working on a book about soft corruption in Washington with a team of eight student researchers, who reviewed financial disclosure records. It became a jumping off point for our own story, and we have independently verified the material we’ve used.

Schweizer says he wanted to know why some congressmen and senators managed to accumulate significant wealth beyond their salaries, and proved particularly adept at buying and selling stocks.

You know where this is going, don’t you? Congressmen of both parties have engaged in massive insider trading — swapping health stocks during the healthcare debate, shorting banks stocks when they were warned of the pending financial meltdown, buying up land right before a road is scheduled to be built.

The thing is, as Stephen Bainbridge and Walter Olson have noted, this is all perfectly legal. Congress is not bound by insider trading laws nor are they obligated to put their funds in blind trusts. They can even be given IPOs.

And former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband have participated in at least eight IPOs. One of those came in 2008, from Visa, just as a troublesome piece of legislation that would have hurt credit card companies, began making its way through the House. Undisturbed by a potential conflict of interest the Pelosis purchased 5,000 shares of Visa at the initial price of $44 dollars. Two days later it was trading at $64. The credit card legislation never made it to the floor of the House.

Efforts to fix this have gone nowhere fast, with both parties. But it gets worse:

In the past few years a whole new totally unregulated, $100 million dollar industry has grown up in Washington called political intelligence. It employs former congressmen and former staffers to scour the halls of the Capitol gathering valuable non-public information then selling it to hedge funds and traders on Wall Street who can trade on it.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: if OWS really opposes corruption and corporatism, they should occupy Washington. Let’s see how much sympathy the Democrats have for the movement when it’s taking dumps in their yard.

Comments are closed.

  1. Hal_10000 *

    McArdle notes that Congress critters tend to slightly underperform index funds. My take is that even with corruption, they’re still idiots.

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  2. Seattle Outcast

    It’s pretty hard to argue with that.

    Personally, I think most of their new wealth just comes from bribes, I mean campaign contributions…

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  3. AlexInCT

    I concur with your assesment, Hal.

    Worse thing for me is that people keep going back to these retards to “fix” things. I am convinced I should have not worried so much about being corrupted and ran for political office, because it’s not a coincidence that these people put up with this heinous process, come in of average means, then leave stinking rich. Everyone seems to be telling me that doing a honest day’s work in pursuit of the American dream is for chumps, and that I should just join them at the feast before the calf is completely sucked dry.

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  4. Mississippi Yankee

    Michelle Malkin writes about exact;y these very things every frikkin’ day. Her last book was ALL about corruption in government as a matter of fact. Yet some on this very site have deemed her stories unworthy of consideration.
    Here’s one from today:

    Obama’s Half-Billion-Dollar Crony Drug Deal}

    Andrew Breitbart is another investigatory reporter that gets little respect too.

    Robert Kennedy Jr. scores $1.4 billion taxpayer bailout

    No wonder I’ve become an angry old man.

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  5. AlexInCT

    Can I guess who? They probably dismissed them because they don’t think she has enough “evidence”.

    I read both Malkin and Breibart regularly, because they have been at the forefront of real important stories the LSM has tried to burry or ignore – three tries why, and the first two don’t count – and would trust anything I get from them over anything in the LSM, just by the very fact that neither is an ideological hack pretening to be ojective, like 99% of the DNC propagandists in the LSM do, and very clear about where they stand, and what their bias is.

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