“It’s not illegal, but I think it’s highly unethical, I think it’s highly offensive and wrong.”
That’s Peter Schweizer, a researcher at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University, talking about the ability of members of Congress to make trades in the stock market based on inside information they’ve gleaned from their positions on Capitol Hill.
Does that sound unbelievable?
It hits a wide swath of lawmakers, from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Perhaps the most egregious example: Rep. Spencer Bauchus (R-Ala.). Bauchus, who now chairs the House Financial Services Committee, was sitting in meetings with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson during the early stirrings of the financial crisis and then making big bets that the stock market would tank.