Congressional insider trading
POSTED: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 4:18pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 10:14am
A 60-Minutes story that aired on Sunday, has many people outraged.
Are members of Congress enriching themselves on inside information that only they are privy to?
It is an outrageous charge.
And though Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority leader Nancy Pelosi deny it vehemently, are they really exempt from insider trading deals that are making them rich?
There are two premises to the story.
Members of congress are involved in self-serving deals…and insider trading, and getting rich.
The second is that they have exempted themselves from the laws against it..
That part appears to be wrong.
First of all, there is no federal statute that explicitly prohibits anyone from the practice of insider trading.
So Congress can’t exempt itself from a law that doesn’t even exist.
The law on insider trading is vague, and Congress never exempted itself.
Insider trading is prosecuted as a violation of an FEC rule which prohibits fraud in the purchase or sale of securities.
So if Boehner and Pelosi are suspected, the Justice Department could prosecute.
If a member of Congress trades securities on the basis of non-public information, that member of Congress is deceiving and defrauding the the federal government and its citizens.
In short, the same law that applies to those famous cases we’ve all heard about, applies to Congress.
Boehner’s office calls this a 60 Minutes hit job.
Pelosi says the source of the information, Peter Schweizer, writes for right wingers like Andrew Breitbart and Glenn Beck.
Experts say, make it expressly illegal, and prosecute away.