Even though Congress is a public servant and must be transparent, they still hide a lot of information from the general public. This practice is wrong. Insider trading is wrong. It seems now being elected is another form of a paycheck. These congressmen and senators make a nice 6-figure salary. On top of that, they make a lot on side deals and insider trading to make a fortune as a politician. Thus, I believe in term limits. Vote these bums out of office in 2012.
(CNBC) 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.
At the time, Abramoff, who was involved in an extensive corruption ring, didn't think much of it. But after years in prison to reflect on the culture of corruption in Washington, Abramoff says he thinks trading based on inside Congressional knowledge is wrong.
Generally, however, legal analysts say that Wall Street insider trading laws do not apply to Congress. As an open and public institution, the legal assumption has long been that any member of the public can have access to information about how Congress works. In practice, though, that's simply not true, as powerful members of Congress come into contact daily with market-moving tidbits. That gap between the law and the reality has made Capitol Hill a virtual free-fire zone for insider trading. Over the years, academic studies have found that members of the House of Representatives beat the market by as much as six percent per year and members of the Senate do even better than that.