Friday, November 11, 2011

"Congress Members Took Part in Insider Trading: Abramoff"

A followup to the post immediately below:
Trading for Fun and Profit--"Congress insiders: Above the law?"

As many as a dozen members of Congress and their aides took part in insider trading based on foreknowledge of market moving information on Capitol Hill, disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff told CNBC in an interview.

Abramoff, who was once one of the wealthiest and most powerful lobbyists in Washington before a corruption scandal sent him to federal prison for more than three years, said that many of those members of Congress bragged to him about their stock trading prowess while dining at the exclusive restaurant he owned on Pennsylvania Avenue.

But Abramoff, whose black trench coat and fedora became one of the most notorious images in recent Washington history after his fall from grace, said he didn't play the stock market himself — he considered it an inherently unfair "casino" in which the house had far more information than the players. Abramoff made most of his fortune representing — and, as it turned out, duping — Native American tribes rich with cash from casino operations. 

The former lobbyist said the amounts members of Congress earned trading off their inside knowledge ranged from as little as $2,000 to, as much as "several hundred thousand dollars," that was claimed by one member of Congress. 

Abramoff declined to name the members of Congress.

"It was more, 'Look at me, I'm a real great stock trader,'" Abramoff told CNBC of the congressional bragging. "All of a sudden somebody from a background maybe in law, maybe in some other unrelated business area, all of a sudden is picking winners and losers in the market."...MORE