Congressional Staffers Play Market Using Inside Info

Many place bets on industries their bosses regulate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2010 8:32 AM CDT
In this Aug. 5, 2010 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
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(Newser) – When Chris Miller doubled his investment in a renewable energy firm in 2008, he might have had an inkling that legislation was coming that would benefit the firm. After all, he’s Harry Reid’s top energy policy adviser. Confronted yesterday, a Reid spokesman said Miller had shown “poor judgment.” But at least he’s not alone. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, at least 72 aides on both sides of the aisle have traded in companies their bosses oversee.

The aides insist they didn’t profit from inside knowledge, but even if they had, the trades would be legal, because insider-trading laws don’t apply to Congress. A bill to ban the practice has been languishing since 2006. “Congressional staff are often privy to inside information,” said a spokesman for one of its co-signers. “The public should be outraged there is no law specifically banning this.” (Read more insider trading stories.)

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