Insider-Trading Probe Targets House Committee Chair
Rep. Spencer Bachus faces first-of-its-kind ethics investigation
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2012 12:27 AM CST
Updated Feb 10, 2012 7:50 AM CST
Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama gestures during a news conference.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

(Newser) – Foxes have been found guarding hen houses on Capitol Hill in the past, but ethics investigators now believe they have identified a particularly greedy one. Rep. Spencer Bachus, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, is being probed for possible violations of insider-trading laws, reports the Washington Post. The investigation of the Alabama Republican is the first of its kind involving a member of Congress, and comes as lawmakers are taking steps to stamp out insider trading by legislators and executive branch officials.

Bachus was among the lawmakers targeted in a 60 Minutes report on insider trading. Financial disclosure forms reveal that he has made numerous stock trades coinciding with major policy announcements while overseeing the nation's financial industry. He made money betting against the market as it plunged in 2008, and also invested heavily in railroad stocks while serving on the House Transportation Committee, according to records. Bachus says he "welcomes the opportunity to set the story straight." One fact that may help his case: Disclosure forms reveal that his net worth has dropped in half during his 18 years in Congress.