Congressmen Bet Against Stocks Amid Crisis

All while some were decrying short selling
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2010 11:53 AM CDT
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., seen during an interview in this file photo, has decried, and profited from, short selling.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

(Newser) – You know those evil short-sellers at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere that lawmakers have been railing against since around the start of the financial crisis? Well pot, meet kettle. The Wall Street Journal has identified 13 members of Congress who in some way bet against the market during the 2008 financial crisis, according to their own disclosures—and many of them are the same lawmakers who would go on to decry such practices.

Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, for example, criticized speculators who bet against American assets “for the sake of making a buck on a short sale.” But as AIG fell, Isakson's own portfolio contained more than $30,000 in bets against Treasuries. Across the aisle, Kirsten Gillibrand's been calling for checks on excessive risk—even though, during the crash, her husband made hundreds of bearish option bets. There's no evidence that any of this was legally or ethically wrong, the Journal notes—just a wee bit hypocritical.

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