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We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions.

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  • We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions.

    (CBS News) Washington, D.C. is a town that runs on inside information - but should our elected officials be able to use that information to pad their own pockets? As Steve Kroft reports, members of Congress and their aides have regular access to powerful political intelligence, and many have made well-timed stock market trades in the very industries they regulate. For now, the practice is perfectly legal, but some say it's time for the law to change.

    The following is a script of "Insiders" which aired on Nov. 13, 2011. Steve Kroft is correspondent, Ira Rosen and Gabrielle Schonder, producers.

    The next national election is now less than a year away and congressmen and senators are expending much of their time and their energy raising the millions of dollars in campaign funds they'll need just to hold onto a job that pays $174,000 a year.

    Few of them are doing it for the salary and all of them will say they are doing it to serve the public. But there are other benefits: Power, prestige, and the opportunity to become a Washington insider with access to information and connections that no one else has, in an environment of privilege where rules that govern the rest of the country, don't always apply to them.

    Questioning Pelosi: Steve Kroft heads to D.C.
    When Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and other lawmakers wouldn't answer Steve Kroft's questions, he headed to Washington to get some answers about their stock trades.

    Most former congressmen and senators manage to leave Washington - if they ever leave Washington - with more money in their pockets than they had when they arrived, and as you are about to see, the biggest challenge is often avoiding temptation.

    Peter Schweizer: This is a venture opportunity. This is an opportunity to leverage your position in public service and use that position to enrich yourself, your friends, and your family.

    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.

    Schweizer: There are all sorts of forms of honest grafts that congressmen engage in that allow them to become very, very wealthy. So it's not illegal, but I think it's highly unethical, I think it's highly offensive, and wrong.

    Steve Kroft: What do you mean honest graft?

    Schweizer: For example insider trading on the stock market. If you are a member of Congress, those laws are deemed not to apply.

    Kroft: So congressman get a pass on insider trading?

    Schweizer: They do. The fact is, if you sit on a healthcare committee and you know that Medicare, for example, is-- is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug that's market moving information. And if you can trade stock on-- off of that information and do so legally, that's a great profit making opportunity. And that sort of behavior goes on.

    Kroft: Why does Congress get a pass on this?

    Schweizer: It's really the way the rules have been defined. And the people who make the rules are the political class in Washington. And they've conveniently written them in such a way that they don't apply to themselves.

    The buying and selling of stock by corporate insiders who have access to non-public information that could affect the stock price can be a criminal offense, just ask hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam who recently got 11 years in prison for doing it. But, congressional lawmakers have no corporate responsibilities and have long been considered exempt from insider trading laws, even though they have daily access to non-public information and plenty of opportunities to trade on it.

    Schweizer: We know that during the health care debate people were trading health care stocks. We know that during the financial crisis of 2008 they were getting out of the market before the rest of America really knew what was going on.

    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.

    Congressman Bachus declined to talk to us, so we went to his office and ran into his Press Secretary Tim Johnson.
    Congress: Trading stock on inside information? - CBS News

    Good Grief--we have the OWS occupy whatever protester protesting Wall Street--but they sure won't look at the biggest corruption!! The Federal Government. Elected officials being able to use insider trading to make millions--while the average American is prosecuted and ends up in prison for many years.

    This again shows just how corrupt our government is. These elected officials decide who is going to get government contracts--then they are able to invest into those companies. John Kerry supposedly made 3 million off of some kind of prior pharmacy deal--and this is happening on both sides of the isle. IT'S GOT TO STOP. Elected officials should be subject to the exact same laws as the public is. This is an absolute OUTRAGE.

  • #2
    Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

    Well, if your point is that OWS should be protesting Congress, that's silly. OWS is organized by liberal organizations -- it has ties to the former ACORN and funding from Soros -- and so it's not going to protest Congress.

    If your point is that we should be outraged about Congress, absolutely. But what to do about it? The problems with Congress are largely on display for all to see and yet nobody cares. It's quite curious. Like, you know what you should really be angry about? 1) The fact that we'll never get tort reform because lawyers write the laws. 2) The fact that we'll never get tax code reform because that's where Congresspeople get their power.

    Literally, if you solved those two issues, you could give two craps about the insider trading issue. For real. So don't get sidetracked in the small stuff. Insider trading is like millions of dollars. Tort reform and tax code reform are like trillions of dollars.

    מה מכילות החדשות?


    • #3
      Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

      Originally posted by Oreo View Post
      Congress: Trading stock on inside information? - CBS News

      Good Grief--we have the OWS occupy whatever protester protesting Wall Street--but they sure won't look at the biggest corruption!! The Federal Government. Elected officials being able to use insider trading to make millions--while the average American is prosecuted and ends up in prison for many years.

      This again shows just how corrupt our government is. These elected officials decide who is going to get government contracts--then they are able to invest into those companies. John Kerry supposedly made 3 million off of some kind of prior pharmacy deal--and this is happening on both sides of the isle. IT'S GOT TO STOP. Elected officials should be subject to the exact same laws as the public is. This is an absolute OUTRAGE.


      Pelosi is having a kan-nip--tion fit over the 60 minutes report outing her and her family for insider trading.

      Pelosi fires back at '60 Minutes' report on 'soft corruption' - CNN.com

      מה מכילות החדשות?


      • #4
        Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

        I'm shocked, when you write the rules and get bribed with other peoples money it's easy to get rich with insider trading.

        Vote all the bums out: regardless of party, they are the problem.

        מה מכילות החדשות?


        • #5
          Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

          Hey, she's gotta fund her plastic surgery somehow, guys.

          By the way, is this more or less problematic than the fact that she has her family flying around on taxpayer-owned jets to private outings and spends thousands of dollars on alcohol during those flights?

          מה מכילות החדשות?


          • #6
            Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

            Originally posted by C-B-M View Post
            Hey, she's gotta fund her plastic surgery somehow, guys.

            By the way, is this more or less problematic than the fact that she has her family flying around on taxpayer-owned jets to private outings and spends thousands of dollars on alcohol during those flights?
            There's nothing worse than our congress/senate writing laws that can be enforced against the citizens--yet then the congress has it's own set of laws--and the laws they write for us--do not necessarily apply to them. It's really time to raise hell about this--by calling your representatives.

            מה מכילות החדשות?


            • #7
              Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

              That's funny, a thread about a Wall Street type who falsely admits that they get thrown in jail for insider trading, when all we've seen these last few years is them getting golden parachutes for helping to bring down their own businesses.

              מה מכילות החדשות?


              • #8
                Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                Originally posted by Jason Marcel View Post
                That's funny, a thread about a Wall Street type who falsely admits that they get thrown in jail for insider trading, when all we've seen these last few years is them getting golden parachutes for helping to bring down their own businesses.
                Martha Stewart ring any bells?

                מה מכילות החדשות?


                • #9
                  Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                  Originally posted by Oreo View Post
                  Martha Stewart ring any bells?
                  Really, are you kidding? That's an example from the tech boom and bust a decade ago.

                  Other than Bernie Madoff, who are all these insiders that are getting thrown in jail for the collapse of 2008, which was, if you weren't yet aware, much more colossal than the moderate bust of 2001.

                  מה מכילות החדשות?


                  • #10
                    Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                    Originally posted by Jason Marcel View Post
                    Really, are you kidding? That's an example from the tech boom and bust a decade ago.

                    Other than Bernie Madoff, who are all these insiders that are getting thrown in jail for the collapse of 2008, which was, if you weren't yet aware, much more colossal than the moderate bust of 2001.
                    Franklin Raines got away with merely a fine.

                    It's a bunch of bullshit.

                    People are pissed off for a reason.

                    מה מכילות החדשות?


                    • #11
                      Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                      Originally posted by Jason Marcel View Post
                      That's funny, a thread about a Wall Street type who falsely admits that they get thrown in jail for insider trading, when all we've seen these last few years is them getting golden parachutes for helping to bring down their own businesses.
                      Wait, let's say that you're absolutely 100% right. Then what is your position? That is, what you're doing is making a cutesy statement that heavily implies something, but I'd like to hear your actual position. Is it:

                      a) That insider trading is acceptable, as demonstrated by Pelosi?
                      b) That insider trading is unacceptable, but Congresspeople can do it?
                      c) That insider trading is unacceptable but also unenforced? In which case, should we eliminate the SEC and regulatory bodies, since they're not doing anything according to you, so there should be no change at all?

                      I mean, it's funny because we have a story about Pelosi performing insider trading and your response is "Wall Street types don't get jailed for insider trading." They don't? Are you quite sure about that? Or are you just making a random and baseless claim in order to deflect criticism away from a Democrat?

                      מה מכילות החדשות?


                      • #12
                        Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                        Originally posted by C-B-M View Post
                        Well, if your point is that OWS should be protesting Congress, that's silly. OWS is organized by liberal organizations -- it has ties to the former ACORN and funding from Soros -- and so it's not going to protest Congress.
                        Where do you get this stuff? There was a Reuters article in October which speculated Soros may be funding it, but he has steadfastly refused that he is. Same with ACORN.

                        You do know that Fox News isn't a legitimate news organization. Right? They are the only ones who are apparently manufacturing this propaganda, as usual.

                        מה מכילות החדשות?


                        • #13
                          Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                          Originally posted by Jason Marcel View Post
                          Really, are you kidding? That's an example from the tech boom and bust a decade ago.

                          Other than Bernie Madoff, who are all these insiders that are getting thrown in jail for the collapse of 2008, which was, if you weren't yet aware, much more colossal than the moderate bust of 2001.
                          Raj Rajaratnam just made the front page of the New York Times after being sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined millions but I wouldn't say insider trading had much to do with our financial woes. All in all, I go back and forth on insider trading as a crime. I recognize the need for an even playing field but I'm just not sure that there's anything wrong with it.

                          מה מכילות החדשות?


                          • #14
                            Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                            Originally posted by Oreo View Post
                            Congress: Trading stock on inside information? - CBS News

                            Good Grief--we have the OWS occupy whatever protester protesting Wall Street--but they sure won't look at the biggest corruption!! The Federal Government. Elected officials being able to use insider trading to make millions--while the average American is prosecuted and ends up in prison for many years.

                            This again shows just how corrupt our government is. These elected officials decide who is going to get government contracts--then they are able to invest into those companies. John Kerry supposedly made 3 million off of some kind of prior pharmacy deal--and this is happening on both sides of the isle. IT'S GOT TO STOP. Elected officials should be subject to the exact same laws as the public is. This is an absolute OUTRAGE.
                            No one cares enough to act...........it's like when I objected to congressional closed door meetings while smaller forms of government has to abide by open meetings laws, no one cares. The wealth producing elected positions that congress enjoys are great! That's why we'll never see term limits..........what congressman would want to limit the amount of sweet deals that could be made?

                            מה מכילות החדשות?


                            • #15
                              Re: We get thrown in jail for insider trading--congressmen/women don't--they make millions

                              Congress critters SHOULD be treated like the President. BLIND TRUST.

                              מה מכילות החדשות?

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