Ethically Challenged Congress Needs Law or Code Banning Insider Trading

Sometimes a story breaks that leads to jaw dropping even among the normally jaded. This past week, a new book by conservative muckraker Peter Schweizer and a memoir by the disgraced and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff both shed light on the degree to which members of Congress profited from trading stocks that were directly affected by pending government policy. The insider trading ran the gamut of Republicans and Democrats and in all cases involved knowledge of pending contracts or legislation that would benefit or penalize specific industries. The amounts gained ranged from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands.

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The Insider Trading Scandal: Is It the Crime or the Prosecution?

The media is abuzz with the news that the former head of McKinsey consulting, Goldman Sachs director and current board member of Proctor & Gamble Rajat Gupta has been charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He is now the highest-profile individual to be implicated in the widespread investigation driven by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that has already ensnared dozens of lower-level traders and Raj Rajaratnam, former head of hedge fund Galleon.

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Bad Accounting Rules Helped Sink AIG

The decision by the Federal Reserve to loan insurance giant AIG $85 billion in return for as much as 80% ownership of the company is by any measure dramatic. The takeover early last week of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac represented the culmination of years of intermingling of public and private interests. Even if the intervention was imperative, its scope is startling.

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