Monday, November 14, 2011


Submitted by: Debbie Warren

'60 Minutes' on 'honest graft'

CBS’ 60 Minutes went after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Financial Services Committee ChairmanSpencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in a Sunday story covering allegations of insider trading and “soft corruption” by powerful members of Congress.
60 Minutes based its report, which also focused on former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and ex-Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), on research by Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution. Schweizer said he and his team of eight student researchers found “forms of honest graft” by lawmakers.
“So it’s not illegal, but I think it’s highly unethical, I think it’s highly offensive, and wrong,” Schweizer told 60 Minutes of what he discovered.
Schweizer was a speechwriting consultant for former President George W. Bush and helped write a book with conservative commentator Glenn Beck. He is also listed as the editor of website run by conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart. Schweizer’s official bio at the Hoover Institution says he is a “former consultant to NBC News” and has “also served as a member of the Ultraterrorism Study Group at the U.S. government’s Sandia National Laboratory.”
The allegations regarding Bachus, Hastert and Gregg covered by 60 Minutes are several years old and have received extensive media coverage already.
Bachus, as ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, traded stock options for General Electric, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and Sony, among others in the midst of the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. Bachus was getting briefed by top officials at the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve about the impending collapse of the American financial markets. His stock trades, which were first reported on by the Wall Street Journal in April 2010, netted the Alabama Republican about $28,000, according to his financial disclosure reports.
Bachus told 60 Minutes that he “never trades on non public information, or financial services stocks,” although GE has a large financial unit.
Boehner bought health-care stocks in 2009 shortly before the “public option” – universal health care – was dropped from the Democratic health care bill. Boehner said his financial adviser oversees all such decisions.
“I have not made any decisions on day-to-day trading activities of my account and haven’t for years. I do not do it, haven’t done it and wouldn’t do it,” Boehner said during a Nov. 3 press conference when asked about the transactions by Steve Kroft.
Boehner’s office dismissed the 60 Minutes report as absurd.
GOP aides pointed that as House minority leader, Boehner did not have the power to “kill” any legislation.
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In addition, Boehner closed out a retirement account during that year - 2009 - from his days as a small business owner prior to his election to Congress and made numerous stock transactions.
“The idea that the Republican leader in the House opposed the ‘public option’ - policy favored by the left of the left - for personal profit is, frankly, stupid,” said a GOP aide.
Paul Pelosi, husband of the then-speaker, bought $2 million worth of Visa stock in March 2008. The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill in October 2008 - just weeks before the elections - addressing “swipe fees,” the charges assessed by credit-card companies on their debit cards. Kroft asked Pelosi whether she used her power as speaker from blocking that legislation from getting to the floor.
“First of all, what you’re contending is not true,” Pelosi said. “Second of all, we are very proud of our record of what happened.”
Pelosi’s financial disclosure reports show that Pelosi’s husband has held onto the bulk of the Visa stock, selling off a small portion worth between $15,000 to $50,000 in November 2008. That sale yielded a capital gain of between $2,500 and $5,000. The Pelosis’ Visa holdings have paid the couple between $12,500 and $35,000 in dividends. The Pelosis are worth at least $36 million based on their annual financial disclosure reports, making her one of the richest members of Congress.
The Visa IPO was one of the biggest of 2008, with over 400 million shares issued at a value of more than $17 billion. According to Pelosi’s office, the Pelosis purchased 20,000 shares over a period of six months.
Under House rules, lawmakers are prohibited from using their official position “for personal gain.” This ban includes instances when a lawmaker uses “his political influence, the influence of his position … to make pecuniary gains” or take any official action that affects their own personal finances, the House Ethics Manual states.
In addition, the House Ethics Committee notes that “ownership in a publicly traded company generally will not present a conflict of interest requiring recusal from voting” on legislation affecting that company. In that instance, lawmakers are treated as part of a “class” of investors, rather than as individuals, and are allowed to vote.
“Tonight’s report,” said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi in a statement, “failed to note that the legislation in question in this story was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on October 3, 2008 – the day the House was consumed in passing TARP and also the last day the House was in session before the November election. It failed to note than in September 2008, the House passed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights. In the next Congress, the House and Senate passed and President Obama signed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights and the Dodd-Frank legislation, which included a stronger, more direct approach to addressing swipe fees.”
Hammill added: “It is very troubling that 60 Minutes would base their reporting off of an already-discredited conservative author who has made a career of out attacking Democrats.”

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1 comment:

  1. Comment of Debbie Warren: Here are several stories and links detailing the criminal activity rampant amongst our 'Fiduciaries'. While some of this information has been exposed previously; there is more in the 60 Minutes episode last night and more to come... This was accomplished through the 'political intelligence' group which operates for the benefit of these 'insiders' in government and then meetings are held (during which cell phones are confiscated and all are sworn to secrecy) to inform our Fiduciaries which stocks to invest in before the info becomes public.

    Although legislation has been proposed numerous times; it falls flat with only a few in Congress who sign on and promote the legislation. Why kill their Golden Goose?

    This is about ethics and their Oath of Office and everyone of these scumbag criminals (regardless of whatever legislation they passed to protect their ranks...IT IS CRIMINALITY) need to be voted out and prosecuted one way or the 'other' by American citizens.

    These crimes are evidenced by the attachment from Arnie concerning net worth of these parasites and the growth of their net worth during the time they 'serve' as our public servants and compensate themselves so nicely FOR LIFE.

    It's no wonder scum bags like Bawney Fwank, Pelousy, Rangel, Watters, Geithner and the rest get a slap on the hand and no prosecution by their fellow gang members. Then, of course, there is Holder, Obama and the lot of them who have taken over our Administration and committed PREMEDITATED (Fast & Furious and Agenda 21) murder and theft. Who is going to prosecute them? The rest of the criminals in our government!? Hell no, they are going to come after every one of us who threatens their game; no matter how 'small' we are. They have fought hard to avoid exposure and I can attest to that through my own experiences and that of others whom I know continue to try. This is one good example that explains why they allowed the coup that installed this illegal and destructive Administration and the ineligible fraud in our White House and why they refuse to answers questions...and choose instead to belittle and marginalize us for demanding answers.

    I watched this last night and could not breathe. I kept thinking about the mortgage and real estate related fraud that destroyed my life...that and the FDA sanctioned food contamination that destroyed my health permanently. It is sad vindication when one faces how hard they worked to expose all of this for some seven years and the silence and/or harassment they incurred from their Congressional Representatives and all the agencies involved in the cover up. Hell, it makes so much sense; they had too many criminals amongst them to protect and too much money was yet to be made off of the schemes. They enabled, facilitated and participated in these crimes against us and they need to hang for it.

    I thought about all the people like me who were irreparably devastated and these criminals knew exactly what was going on and the harm it was causing. Who cares as long as they make their millions and create a class of poverty stricken human beings who they think won't hold them accountable because they have no power to do it? What they seem to forget is that WE aren't built like that and WE will use every weapon in the toolbox. WE will do what we have to and WE have the ultimate power behind us: sheer numbers of citizens, God and our Constitution.

    I'll never recover what has been lost in the past seven plus years of personal destruction and the fight to expose it...and recover losses from the criminals. But, damned if I'm going to fall silent or stop going after all of them!

    Debbie Warren