Here Are The Congressional Aides That Traded On Insider Information Over The Past Year

Up until April 2012, members of Congress and their staff were the only people in the country actually allowed to trade stocks on insider information.  That was supposed to change with the passage of the STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act which was signed into law by Barack Obama on April 4, 2012.  But, as we all know, laws are only meaningful to the extent our legislators and bureaucracies are willing to enforce them.

Given that intro, it is with great 'shock' that we share with you the results of a Politico study which would seem to suggest that Congressional aides continue to trade on insider information on a fairly regular basis despite the existence of the STOCK Act.  We guess the SEC didn't take seriously the STOCK Act's attempt to "criminalize behavior that is normal."

The first such example of a "questionable" trade comes to us from Daniel Swanson, an aide to Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) of the Judiciary Committee...why does it not surprise us that our first example comes from Illinois?  As Politico notes, Swanson made some very "timely" trades in Mylan late last year as he managed to dump up to $60,000 worth of stock just two days before the DOJ levied a $465 million penalty on the company for their EpiPen billing practices.  Ironically, Swanson's boss worked with the DOJ on the Mylan settlement...

On Sept. 28, 2016, three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Justice Department suggesting that the drug company Mylan was violating Medicaid laws.


Nine days later, the Justice Department reached a massive $465 million settlement with the firm.


In between, another action happened almost invisibly: A Judiciary Committee aide to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) dropped somewhere between $4,004 and $60,000 in Mylan stock from his and his child’s portfolios.


If an aide had done the same thing in the executive branch, he or she could be investigated for violating federal conflict-of-interest law. But the Durbin aide’s ownership of shares of Mylan, and their timely sale, are reflective of Congress’ persistent refusal to crack down on stock trading by staffers, even in firms overseen by their committees.


...but we're sure the timing of the trade was just a coincidence.


But it's not just Swanson, Paul Ryan's Chief of Staff has also managed to get really "lucky" on the timing of some trades over the years.

David Hoppe, a fellow Wisconsin native and former Hill aide, to serve as his chief of staff. Hoppe left lobbying jobs with both his own firm, Hoppe Strategies, and the K Street powerhouse Squire Patton Boggs to work for the new speaker. After he moved back through the revolving door, Hoppe continued to trade stock in companies with interests before Congress.


David Hoppe, a longtime Capitol Hill aide-turned-lobbyist, joined the speaker’s office in late 2015 as Ryan became speaker of the House. Through personal accounts, Hoppe and his wife bought and sold shares in dozens of stocks while Hoppe worked at the speaker’s office, including purchases of energy and pharmaceutical stocks made shortly before Congress passed bills benefiting the companies he traded. Hoppe told POLITICO he did not discuss any stock trades with his brokers while working for Ryan.


And the list goes on and on...

Diane Dewhirst, deputy chief of staff to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, disclosed her spouse’s purchase of stock in two pharmaceutical companies, Astrazeneca and GlaxoSmithKline, in December 2016, shortly before Congress passed a medical research bill that benefited both companies.


Meanwhile, on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which sets energy policy and is the main committee overseeing Obamacare, at least six aides have bought and sold stock in companies with interests in the work of the committee. One longtime committee aide in an oversight role bought and sold more than two dozen health care and energy stocks during 2015 and 2016 and sold his stock in Express Scripts, the prescription drug sales company, as the company came under scrutiny over its role in setting drug prices last October.


On the House and Senate appropriations committees, which make broadly influential spending and policy decisions through annual government funding bills, at least 18 House aides and 14 Senate aides have bought or sold at least one stock, through their own accounts or family members’. For example, one senior House Appropriations aide working for a member focused on energy and water funding has, through various family accounts, bought and sold shares in companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Energy Transfer Partners, Dow Chemical and Emerson Electric. Another longtime aide on the committee’s staff who is focused on investigations and research, which are at the heart of the committee’s decision-making, holds and trades stock in companies with major interests in the committee’s work, including pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and energy companies such as Occidental Petroleum.

Of course, proving that a Congressional aide traded on insider information can be next to impossible which is precisely why watchdog groups have long called for staffers to be restricted completely from trading stocks of companies that have business before their committees. 

Government watchdogs say that, at a minimum, staffers should be prevented from buying shares of companies with business before their committees. But they are not. And despite the disparity between the rigorous standards for the executive branch and the laxness of Congress, the House and Senate have taken a permissive approach even to enforcing existing rules.


That’s a serious problem, watchdogs say, because aides often have more of a hands-on role than the members themselves in crafting details of legislation that could have enormous consequences for individual companies. And because aides are rarely in the spotlight, there’s more potential for ethical lapses to go unnoticed.


“The staff level is actually more dangerous, because they don’t get scrutiny and they’re not accountable,” said Meredith McGehee, chief of policy at Issue One, a watchdog group for money and politics. “If a member does it, he can get defeated. A staff person can wield enormous amounts of power that isn’t seen, and there’s really no way to hold that staff accountable.”

But we're sure this is just an attempt by Politico to "criminalize behavior that is normal..."


Chupacabra-322 Cynicles II Mon, 09/25/2017 - 22:23 Permalink

@ cynicles.

Prime example of

Tyrannical Lawlessness?

Exactly like the retroactive immunity the Criminal gave to the Telecommunication Company's for their Criminal Illegal Surveillance.

The Criminal Board of Directors aka CONGress gave them retroactive immunity as well.

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

-Frédéric Bastiat

In reply to by Cynicles II

Yippie21 Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:14 Permalink

Man, I wish Trump would out this crap.  Talk about a wedge issue....    " Looky here folks....    timely trades... everywhere you look..."

WhackoWarner Yippie21 Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:24 Permalink

Trump is a captured court jester.  He may have been given a more cameo role but was unable to teleprompt college level speeches.Trump is a controlled clown.  Likely not his original thought.  But when guns are put to heads ah well. This is USA USA problem.  How the frig to take your country back (doubt it).

In reply to by Yippie21

Baron von Bud Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:21 Permalink

These are piker trades. Susan Rice made $30 MILLION trading canadian oil stocks before Obama ok'd the pipeline deal. She made that while in office!! Obama got $60m for his book deal. A payoff after the fact. He'd have to sell more books than A Tale of Two Cities and To Kill a Mockingbird for the publisher to make any money.

DirtySanchez Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:27 Permalink

A permanent and elite ruling class, does not give ONE FUCK what anyone thinks!These motherfuckers should be thrown off of rooftops, hung from streetlights, and burned with flame throwers.Very specific and very short term limits for the citizen representative.Same laws apply to them that apply to everyone else.  

Solio Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:30 Permalink

These guys work for representatives of The People. The inside knowledge that they were privelege to came while they work for representatives of The People. Therefore, any profits from these trades should go to The People.

overmedicatedu… Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:31 Permalink

seems like small change trades in their own accounts..of course the leeks to big trading houses come with really nice benefits..beals has made the call..looking good winthrop looking good.hang em all

Beowulf55 Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:33 Permalink

And yet you continue to send tax money to them to feed these swamp creatures.When are you going to get off your fucking knees and stand on the wall?

Ban KKiller Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:51 Permalink

White collar crime pays and pays well. Suggest you go make some Assingments of Mortgage (or deeds of trust) and assign some foreclosed homes to a shell company who then sells it on the open market. Just like the  banks do. 

Seasmoke Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:53 Permalink

How do you think these fucking liars , who make $170,000 all become millionaires. Why is everyone so naive or just plain hypocrites. Country is just a Bunch of fucking pussies who never do anything about in your face corruption.

garcam123 Seasmoke Mon, 09/25/2017 - 19:43 Permalink

Amiriclowns have become an intimidated by instand death vagina/asshole combination.We just bend over and take it wherever they want to put it  while we continue to suck social network dick........who gives a fuck about freedom as long as I can get my email and some regular dick freom some connected slug!Aint slavery great?  Oh, Yea, go ahead and bomb whoever the fuck you want to, it ain't MY neighborhood it?And AGT is on tonight, isnt it? 

In reply to by Seasmoke

Consuelo Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:54 Permalink

  Now are we beginning to get the picture - going all the way back to the FBI files...? This (amongst a litany of others), is why nothing will ever touch Madame Defarge.Got that George Webb, Jason Goodman, Charles Ortel, et al...?    You guys are doing yeoman's work to be sure, but only the 'divine hand' can throw the choke chain on that beast now - and I think you guys probably have already come to the same conclusion...

pndr4495 Mon, 09/25/2017 - 19:00 Permalink

From the movie The Sting : Robert Shaw's character Doyle Lonnegan to robert Redford's character Johnny Hooker posing as Mr. Kelly, " Your boss is quite a card player Mr. Kelly. How does he do it?" Kelly to Lonnegan, " He cheats." Pretty much, that sums up the Crony Capitalism in The United States of America.

Savyindallas Mon, 09/25/2017 - 19:16 Permalink

What's wrong with that? Insider trading for Congress is legal and it helps assure that Congress will support Israel, AIPAC and the warmongers in supporting endless wars for the globalists, the continued theft of trillions by Wall Street from the American people, and continued support of the orwellian police state to keep us all in line. Isn't the end result good for the American people and the betterment of humanity? Aren't we all better off as serfs to our feudal masters who seek a one world government where we can eventually rid ourselves of 5 billion useless eaters? 

Father ¢hristmas Mon, 09/25/2017 - 20:35 Permalink

The staffers also serve as fronts for the dumber Congressmen on the Hill.  You have to be remarkably naïve to be incensed by this.  There is literally no other reason to become a part of gubmint, particularly the federal sector, than personal enrichment.People who want to serve their country join the military (and those in the service who realize that is bullshit at some point in their career decide to join gubmint lol).The military serves to guarantee gubmint investments abroad.  As a nihilist, that is one of the things I like about McCain.  He does everything short of walking around wearing a sandwich board to indicate that Western civilization is completely and utterly full of shit and it is every man for himself out here.  I really hope McCain starts fucking shit up even moar now that he's revealed his diagnosis is "very poor".  Nigga even voted against his boyfriend's signature legislation *chuckle*Ron and Rand Paul are like a Scorsese film about the absurdity of modern civilization, while McCain and Graham are like a Kubrick project.

Joe_in_Indiana Mon, 09/25/2017 - 22:20 Permalink

I'm sure there are a multitude for each Senator and Representative doing this along with themselves.Hey Visclosky, Donnelly and Young--how much did you and your aides make this last cycle???

moorewasthebestbond Mon, 09/25/2017 - 22:29 Permalink

Does anybody remember the scene in Swordfish where John Travolta (anti-treason crusader Gabriel) shoots Sam Shepard (the treasonous senator Reisman) through the heart? I was just wondering. The concept kinda applies here.

ds Tue, 09/26/2017 - 00:45 Permalink

 Keep going to undermine trust in markets. The markets are also where WS and Banksters execute their shenanigans. Keep going to add more rigs to already deformed markets and to even more evaporation of trust in markets. Encourage them to steal more from their own tribe (WS, etc) and poison the wells. When the referees play the games, you are far better off being entertained in casinos. 

Vonhoff5 Tue, 09/26/2017 - 06:46 Permalink

Treat them like 7-11 thieves and throw them in a sh!thole to be anopther man's bitch. White collar crime would disappear overnight if these people had consequences