CBS News’ 60 Minutes aired a report last night alleging that several members of Congress have traded stock using information they received during private briefings or meetings, enabling them to profit from inside information.
By far the most damning story was about House Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who in 2008, the day after receiving a private briefing from the nation’s chief economic officials on the extent of the financial crisis, proceeded to bet that the stock market would tank:
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.
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.
CBS also criticized House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for trading health stocks right before the public option was officially killed and noted that former Rep. Dennis Hastert (R) and former Sen. Judd Gregg (R) profited from steering federal earmarks towards projects in which they had a financial stake.
Read more at ThinkProgress