Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pelosi Aide Calls "60 Minutes" Segment a "Right-Wing Smear"

In a recent "60 Minutes" segment based on a new book, Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Jail, by Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution, several individuals including Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner and Spencer Bachus may have benefitted from privileged information.

Nancy Pelosi's aide, Drew Hammill, called the report a "right-wing smear".

Schweizer contends that members of Congress, through various means, gain information that allow them to invest in companies and profit. Currently, there is no law that stops members of Congress from making investments using information that they have.

If private individuals were to do similar things, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be investigating those individuals. Should the investigation determine that the individual gained an unfair advantage through the information, that individual would be charged with Insider Trading and face punishments ranging from fines to imprisonment.

According to Donna Nagy, an Indiana University law professor, members of Congress could be prosecuted under current Securities and Exchange Commission rules if they commit fraud involving violation of a fiduciary trust or silence about relevant non-public information.

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