Posts tagged Throw them all out
by Wynton Hall
Billionaire George Soros gave advice and direction on how President Obama should allocate so-called “stimulus” money in a series of regular private meetings and consultations with White House senior advisers even as Soros was making investments in areas affected by the stimulus program.
It’s just one more revelation featured in the blockbuster new book that continues to rock Washington, Throw Them All Out, authored by Breitbart News editor Peter Schweizer.
Mr. Soros met with Mr. Obama’s top economist on February 25, 2009 and twice more with senior officials in the Old Executive Office Building on March 24th and 25th as the stimulus plan was being crafted. Later, Mr. Soros also participated in discussions on financial reform.
Then, in the first quarter of 2009, Mr. Soros went on a stock buying spree in companies that ultimately benefited from the federal stimulus.
- Soros doubled his holdings in medical manufacturer Hologic, a company that benefited from stimulus spending on medical systems
- Soros tripled his holdings in fiber channel and software maker Emulus, a company that wound up scoring a large amount of federal funds going to infrastructure spending
- Soros bought 210,000 shares in Cisco Systems, which came up big in the stimulus lottery
- Soros also bought Extreme Networks, which, months later, said it was expanding broadband to rural America “as part of President Obama’s broadband strategy”
- Soros bought 1.5 million shares in American Electric Power, a company Mr. Obama gave $1 billion to in June 2009
- Soros bought shares in utility company Ameren, which bagged a $540 million Department of Energy loan
- Soros bought 250,000 shares of Public Service Enterprise Group, 500,000 shares of NRG Energy, and almost a million shares of Entergy—all companies that came up winners in the Department of Energy taxpayer giveaway that produced the Solyndra debacle
- Soros bought into BioFuel Energy, a company that benefitted when the EPA announced a regulation on ethanol
- Soros bought Powerspan in April 2009. Just weeks later, the clean-energy company landed $100 million from the Department of Energy
- In the second quarter of 2009, Soros bought education technology giant Blackboard, which became a big recipient of education stimulus money
- Soros also bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe and CSX, both beneficiaries of Mr. Obama’s plans for revitalizing the railroads
- Soros bought Cognizant Technology Solutions, which scored stimulus funds in education and health care technology
- Soros also bought 300,000 shares of Constellation Energy Group and 4.6 million shares of Covanta, both of which landed taxpayers’ money through the stimulus, the former of which bagged $200 million
In Throw Them All Out, Schweizer catalogs several more of Mr. Soros’s trades and says that, while “it is not necessarily the case that Soros had specific insider tips about any government grants,” nevertheless, Soros’s “investment decisions aligned remarkably closely with government grants and transfers.”
Whether Mr. Soros’s involvement in private White House meetings influenced which companies received stimulus money is unclear. What is certain, writes Schweizer, is that “crony capitalism favors the politically active, and the manipulative. It does not favor one party over the other. It does not care about policy. It just knows how to make money off any policy—your tax dollars, leveraged to the rich.”
[CIM Comment: If you think the politicians are pathetic and evil just remember the bad ones, yes most, are just puppets. So what do you think about their puppet master?]
You cannot read the description of the personal stock trading allegedly conducted by Rep. Spencer Bachus and other members of Congress during the financial crisis and conclude anything other than the following:
Our government is completely corrupt.
Yes, this behavior may be technically legal, because of an absurd loophole that makes insider-trading rules not apply to Congress.
Yes, this behavior may be widespread on Capitol Hill.
But there is no universe in which a reasonable person would consider this behavior ethical or okay. And for the 300+ million Americans who aren’t members of Congress, it would be just plain illegal
Many members of Congress seem guilty here, including John Kerry, Dick Durbin, and Jim Moran. But Spencer Bachus takes the cake.
According to a new book called Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer, as relayed by Dave Weigel at Slate, Rep. Bachus made more than 40 trades in his personal account in the summer and fall of 2008, in the early months of the financial crisis.
The fact that Bachus personally traded on private information he received as a result of his job is bad enough. The fact that he was the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee at the time is simply outrageous.
In one case, the day after getting a private briefing on the collapsing economy and financial system from Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson, Rep. Bachus effectively shorted the market (by buying options that would rise if the market tanked.)
A few days later, after the market tanked, Bachus sold his position and nearly doubled his money.
If a corporate executive or Wall Street trader did this–cashed in personally after getting private, non-public information from his work–Rep. Bachus and every other member of Congress would be screaming from the rooftops about how the financial system is deeply corrupt and how the executive should be charged with insider trading.
And they would be right.
Rep. Bachus should return whatever money he made by betting on the direction of the markets (or anything else) in the fall of 2008. He should apologize for his behavior and jaw-dropping lack of judgement. He should urge his fellow members of Congress to immediately enact legislation that defends the fairness of the markets by holding Congress to the same insider trading laws as everyone else. He should then resign in disgrace.