The Washington Post has pored over the 45,000 stock transactions made by members of Congress between 2007 and 2010, in a mammoth investigation into just how bad the government's insider trading problem is. The result—130 members of Congress or their families bought and sold up to $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that comes before their committees. That amounts to 5,531 trades, or nearly one in eight (although the Post notes that not all these trades are insider trading, only that the trades represent potential conflicts of interest).
It is also a problem split fairly evenly between the parties, with 68 Democrats and 62 Republicans. Sen. John Kerry had the highest value of stocks that overlap with companies that appeared before him, between $42 million and $86 million, while Texas Rep. Michael McCaul had the highest number of overlapping trades. Only six senators use ethics-committee approved blind trusts, and the House does not even keep track. "Members need to bend over backwards to show people they are there for the good of the country," said former Rep. Brian Baird, who co-authored a failed bill to stop insider trading in Congress in 2006, adding "if there is an appearance of an impropriety, there just might be an impropriety." Click for the Post's full piece. (Read more Congress stories.)