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. [...]
Bachus, who was the ranking member of the Financial Services committee at the time (since the Democrats held the house) made about 200 trades as the financial crisis peaked, netting about $28,000. “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,” said Peter Schweitzer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, whose work was the basis for CBS’ report. “I mean, talk about a stock tip.”
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.
We all know that the Republican party is ideologically opposed to essentially anything the Democratic party, or President Obama, proposes even if they previously supported it, but this just goes to show you that it isn't entirely ideological. It's also personal, as some members of the party personally prosper from the inside-knowledge they gain serving in congress and by their own actions while serving in committees.
For the sake of fairness, 60 minutes also noted that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband was offered stock-options from Visa while legislation that would clamp down on the credit-card industry was being drafted, but I'm not sure why that is relevant as Pelosi clearly supported the new regulations which were eventually signed into law. Regulations that the industry ardently opposed.
Apparently there was a shortage of legitimate, Democratic examples to share.