Members of Congress can legally make trades on non-public information they obtain during their official duties, CBS News’ ’60 Minutes’ reported on Sunday night.
Branded ‘honest graft,’ lawmakers can use market-moving information that they learn in congressional committees to trade on the stock market — actions that likely would carry stiff jail and civil penalties if they did not hold public office.
In one example, Steve Kroft reports that Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), now the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, bet against the market in the days before the 2008 financial crisis hit — after getting ‘apocalyptic briefings’ from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
Kroft also raises questions about the trading patterns of Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — and the real estate purchases of other senators and representatives.
The report relies heavily on the work of Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, whose work ’60 Minutes’ independently verified.
“This is a venture opportunity,” Schweizer told ’60 Minutes.’ “This is an opportunity to leverage your position in public service and use that position to enrich yourself, your friends, and your family.”
Watch the video below:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
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