Tag Archives: ben nelson

Insider Trading: John Boehner, Ben Nelson, Barney Frank, and 31 Other Lawmakers Adjusted Financial Portfolios During 2008 Financial Meltdown

By Gary P Jackson

Imagine this: In early 2008, as the financial markets were in free-fall, members of Congress, including John Boehner, Ben Nelson, Mitch McConnell, and Barney Frank, were burning up the phone lines between their offices and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s and Tim Geithner’s offices. The results of these calls saw them using the insider information given to them by Paulson in order to make adjustments to their financial portfolios. All in all, 34 members of Congress used insider information to save their own stock portfolios, while the rest America took a bath on their investments, losing big time.

The Washington Post has published an explosive [and lengthy] accounting of the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing that was going on as America teetered on total financial collapse. [emphasis mine]

Lawmakers reworked financial portfolios after talks with Fed, Treasury officials

In January 2008, President George W. Bush was scrambling to bolster the American economy. The subprime mortgage industry was collapsing, and the Dow Jones industrial average had lost more than 2,000 points in less than three months.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner became the Bush administration’s point person on Capitol Hill to negotiate a $150 billion stimulus package.

In the days that followed, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. made frequent phone calls and visits to Boehner. Neither Paulson nor Boehner would publicly discuss the progress of their negotiations to shore up the nation’s financial portfolio.

On Jan. 23, Boehner (R-Ohio) met Paulson for breakfast. Boehner would later report the rearrangement of a portion of his own financial portfolio made on that same day. He sold between $50,000 and $100,000 from a more aggressive mutual fund and moved money into a safer investment.

The next day, the White House unveiled the stimulus package.

Boehner is one of 34 members of Congress who took steps to recast their financial portfolios during the financial crisis after phone calls or meetings with Paulson; his successor, Timothy F. Geithner; or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, according to a Washington Post examination of appointment calendars and congressional disclosure forms.

The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions and committee chairmanships in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 19 to 15.

The period covered by The Post analysis was a grim one for the U.S. economy, and many people rushed to reconfigure their investment portfolios. The financial moves by the members of Congress are permitted under congressional ethics rules, but some ethics experts said they should refrain from taking actions in their financial portfolios when they might know more than the public.

They shouldn’t be making these trades when they know what they are going to do,” said Richard W. Painter, who was chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. “And what they are going to do is then going to influence the market. If this was going on in the private sector or it was going on in the executive branch, I think the SEC would be investigating.

Boehner, now the speaker of the House, declined to discuss his transactions. His spokesman said they did not pose a conflict because a financial adviser executed them and they were made in diversified mutual funds. Other lawmakers also said their financial advisers handled their trades. They said that the timing of the trades and the conversations was “coincidental and that they did not adjust their portfolios based on what they were told by the administration officials.

Questions about conflicts of interest and possible insider trading on Capitol Hill prompted Congress to pass the Stock Act this year. The act specifically bans lawmakers, their staffs and top executive branch officials from knowingly using confidential information gleaned from their legislative roles to benefit themselves, their family members or friends.

The act does not prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks in companies that appear before them or from reworking their portfolios after briefings with senior administration officials. Top executive branch officials are banned from investing in industries they oversee and can influence — for example, Fed chairmen are prohibited from investing in the financial sector.

The Post analysis did not turn up evidence of insider trading. Instead, the review shows that lawmakers routinely make trades that raise questions about whether members of Congress have an investing advantage over members of the public.

Members of Congress are still loosey-goosey about what they require of themselves,” said Painter, who teaches securities law at the University of Minnesota. I think it’s time for Congress to impose the same rules on themselves that they impose on others. The Stock Act doesn’t do that.

A shift to Treasury securities

In late 2006, Congress started crafting legislation to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a major effort to stem a rising tide of defaults on risky loans given to home buyers with poor credit.

As Congress worked to rein in the two government-sponsored lenders, Fannie and Freddie pushed back with aggressive lobbying campaigns, stalling the effort in early 2007.

Paulson started working the Hill, trying to break the deadlock and win support for the revisions. He called and met with a number of members of Congress, including Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), on this and other reform efforts.

Paulson and Nelson spoke on Jan. 10. The next day, Nelson sold between $250,000 and $500,000 in Lehman Brothers certificates of deposit. (Congressional financial disclosure forms list only approximate ranges.) Nelson also purchased between $100,000 and $200,000 in Treasury notes, a safer investment.

On Feb. 12, Paulson met at 4 p.m. with Nelson in the lawmaker’s office in the Hart Senate Office Building. That day, Nelson bought $50,000 to $100,000 in Treasury bills.

That year, Nelson had only one other call with Paulson and no other meetings, records show. He made 103 other trades during the year, eight of which exceeded $100,000.

Nelson declined to be interviewed. A spokesman said that the senator discussed only policy matters related to disabled veterans during the call and meeting with the Treasury secretary and that the senator learned nothing that would have influenced his trades.

Like everyone in Congress, Senator Nelson is bound by the laws, rules and guidelines established for members of Congress,” Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson said in a statement. “He carefully follows both the spirit and intent of them. He has not, and would not, have conversations with Executive Branch officials about matters affecting his personal finances.”

Under congressionally imposed ethics laws that cover Treasury secretaries, Paulson and Geithner would have been prohibited from making the same investments. Congress prohibits Treasury secretaries from investing in financial institutions or Treasury securities.

Nelson “has often sought and had one-on-one conversations with numerous cabinet secretaries under both President Bush and Obama on dozens of issues before Congress,” Thompson said in an e-mail. “That’s what good legislators do, they seek dialogue and understanding at the senior level about local, state and federal policy matters, as well as foreign policy issues.

Read much more, starting here.

The article goes on to lay out more of these trades, and while it doesn’t name all 34 lawmakers, it does expose ranking members from both parties. It seems in Washington, the one thing that is always bi-partisan, is corruption.

Though the post claims then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wasn’t involved in these schemes, as we reported in November of last year, she is up to her ears in corruption.

Though they might not meet the legal definition of insider trading, these actions by trusted lawmakers certainly do in spirit. Members of both parties have bee writing legislation, or in some cases defeating legislation, depending on nothing more than how it effects their personal fortune.

In December of last year, Sarah Palin, who made her bones sending corrupt politicians to prison, wrote:Congress, It’s Time to Stop Lining Your Pockets demanding reform. She championed a much tougher law than what was eventually passed. The law we have now is weak and mostly window dressing. It was passed to make it look like Congress cared what the people want, but doesn’t actually do much.

No one begrudges anyone, even lawmakers, for making money, but it’s quite troubling to see how many come to Washington with little or no money, and become multi-millionaires while in office.

It’s beyond time we stop putting up with this nonsense. We need sudden and relentless reform. Congress must be made to live under the same rules as the rest of us, and that includes going to jail when they break these rules.

Make no mistake about this, corruption exists in both political parties and at the highest levels. The democrat party is unacceptable for so many reasons beyond the corruption, but if the Republican Party doesn’t get it’s act together, it may well be time to start working on a serious, viable third party. Or should I say a strong viable replacement for the Republican Party.

When the new Congress convenes in January, the first order of business will be to elect a Speaker of the House. In my opinion John Boehner must be replaced. The same goes for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Surely, out of 535 Senators and Congressmen, there are suitable replacements for both. If not, we have bigger problems than just a few corrupt lawmakers, that’s for sure.

Congress needs to take up sudden and relentless reform and they need to do it now. What Congress is doing now is unacceptable.


Filed under In The News, Politics, sarah palin

Did Barack Obama Just Commit High Treason?

I know there are some that think that Obama commits treason just by showing up to work. Yes, there are more than a few eligibility questions, that sadly, will never be resolved, thanks to a compliant media, and the most corrupt Congress in our nation’s history.

Frankly, I see other acts that border on treason such as the unprecedented power grab that Obama and the corrupt democrat/communist Congress are attempting to engineer with “health care reform.” We’ve discussed at length the unconstitutionality of this entire exercise, as well how it effectively renders our Constitution null and void.

I’ve also written at length about the real agenda behind the global warming scam, and how the end game is complete destruction of not only the United States, and the capitalistic system, but literally all of mankind. For those that read the quotes from the various leaders of the global warming movement, and learned of their utter contempt for the United States and humanity itself, it is both shocking and frightening that these people are allowed to roam among us. They all belong in insane asylums!

Certainly, knowing all of this, for Obama to embrace the global warming scam full bore, could easily constitute treason.

But with all of that said, we have an even more serious charge that should end the Obama presidency immediately and see him, and all involved charged with high treason and dealt with in the proper manner, if true.

We all know how bad Obama and his corrupt Congress want to pass “heath care reform.” It will represent the final blow to the republic and the republican form of government. If ObamaCare passes, it will void the Constitution and do away with states rights. It will set up a central command and control government, a communist state that the far left has dreamed of since FDR’s time. (Don’t forget, Roosevelt affectionately referred to Stalin as “Uncle Joe.”)

ObamaCare will take control of almost all activities that are generally controlled by cities and states and place it in the hands of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. ObamaCare is the Holy Grail to the far left, and highly corrupt democrat/communists. They have tried to do this for over 60 years. It’s been an obsession for them.

There is a bit of a silver lining though. Barack Obama, who has never run anything as complicated as a lemonade stand, is an incredibly inept CEO. There’s a reason why we generally elect Governors, not Senators, as President. One must have executive experience to get things done. Obama never even took time to learn the job of Senator before he abandoned that job in order to satisfy his lust for wealth and power as President.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is right up there with Obama on the competency scale. So what we have is a situation that has gone from SNAFU, “Situation Normal, All Fouled Up” to FUBAR, “Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition.”

As much as the democrat/communists want to blame the GOP for this, Republicans are irrelevant. Democrat/communists have a solid majority in the House, and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. In other words, the democrat/communists have total control of government, and there are absolutely no checks and balances. They only saving grace is these are some truly dumb people. Not many marketable skills in that party.

So…..there is a civil war going on. You have a few level headed people that see this boondoggle for what it is, some pro-life democrats/communists, a truly rare bird, and then you have the far left, the base. As radical as this health care fiasco is, it doesn’t go far enough for the moonbats.

At first, the back room deals were all about payoffs. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana was given $300 million, in what has been called “The Louisiana Purchase,” just for her vote on cloture. Others have been promised huge sums of tax payer monies for pet projects. But now we are past all of that. As hard as it is to believe, there are a handful of democrat/communists that have some integrity. They can’t be bought off.

We have seen how Senator Joe Lieberman and his wife have been threatened. It’s simply unconscionable, but pretty much what you expect from a bunch of street thug “”community organizers” from Chicago.

With that said, as vile, and possibly illegal, all of the machinations have been so far, they pale in comparison to what is going on with Senator Bill Nelson of Nebraska. Nelson is one of the few truly moderate members of the radical party. A holdover from the old Bob Bullock, Scoop Jackson wing of the party. Nelson has more than a few issues with ObamaCare, such as tax payer funded abortions, and mandated compliance. Also he has his state Governor, his constituents, and colleagues demanding he vote no. So far, Nelson is listening to the will of the people.

So just how desperate is Obama to pass this monstrosity into law? Strong enough to commit treason, evidently.

Nebraska is home to Offutt Air Force Base, home to the US Strategic Command, the successor to the old Cold War US Strategic Air Command that used to keep B-52 bombers, loaded with nuclear weapons, flying 24/7 within minutes of Soviet air space as a deterrent against an attack.

Offutt is still one of our most strategic bases. It’s location, in the center of the nation, is very strategic. This is where President Bush had wanted to make his address to the nation on 9/11, before it was decided he would go back to the White House, and it was the site of the initial strategy sessions after the terrorist attacks took place that morning.

So craven is Barack Obama, so desperate is he to pass this unconstitutional “health care reform,” that he has crossed the line. Obama is quite willing to risk national security to achieve his goal of a communist state.

According to Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard, Obama has threatened to close Ottuff, out of spite, should Senator Nelson not buckle under to the pressure and go along with this massive unconstitutional power grab disguised as “heath care reform.”

While the Democrats appease Senator Lieberman, they still have to worry about other recalcitrant Democrats including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Though Lieberman has been out front in the fight against the public option and the Medicare buy-in, Nelson was critical of both. Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson’s demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met. According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska’s Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn’t fall into line.

Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a “naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson’s vote.” They are “hreatening to close a base vital to national security for what?” asked the Senate staffer.

Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not by accident. STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this administration playing politics with our national security.

Matt Lewis tweeted earlier, presumable from a source independent of Goldfarb’s, that Nelson has been both pressured, and offered a blank check! You can read that here.

Forget the fact that this is one of our most strategic military bases in the nation, vital for national security, closing Offutt would simply devastate the economy of the surrounding area. Having lived in the shadow of Ft Hood, Texas most of my life, I can tell you that simple downsizing can all but destroy local economies, shutting the base would be catastrophic. And since Obama hasn’t created net job one since he has been in office, it would devastate those effected by the closure, adding to those without work, or the prospect of work.

With that said, this isn’t just about jobs lost. This would be a major blow to our national security at a time we are fighting two wars and there is a growing list of aggressor nations who are only waiting to strike a vulnerable United States and her allies.

Obama is already doing things to make America less safe. From insanely restrictive rules of engagement on the battlefield, to coddling terrorists. From bringing the confessed 9/11 planners, who have already asked to be put to death, to New York for a show trial, something that will give these animals a world wide soapbox to spew their hatred for America and recruit thousands to their cause, to moving other Gitmo detainees to Illinois. Everything Obama is doing endangers America, and is at the very least suspect, and reason to make sure he is a one term President.

In fact, I imagine if one really looked into the Illinois prison deal, there is some serious money changing hands, especially since most of the facility will have to be brought up to spec, using union thugs from the SEIU, no doubt. Corruption is the lifeblood of Chicago politics. One can only imagine the money changing hands on this deal. This will most likely be Obama’s retirement package when he’s forced out of office.

I would think sharp investigators could come up with information that would demand Articles of Impeachment be drawn up by Congress, if only someone cared. But as bad as it is, all of this pales in comparison to even threatening to close Offutt.

In the private world, extortion lands you in prison. In Washington, with this President, it’s simply the way they do business. The Chicago way.

A group of 20 Republican Senators have sent a letter to democrat/communist Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and John McCain, the leading Republican on the Committee, the text of which is below:

It has been reported that the Obama Administration threatened the closure of a U.S. military installation for political purposes, thereby bringing into question the integrity of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The BRAC process was established to remove political influence so that the decision to close or not to close a military installation could be based upon military utility.

Specifically, various media reports have stated that the Obama Administration would put Offutt AFB in southeastern Nebraska on a future BRAC list because of a vote on healthcare reform. While we recognize the importance of Offutt AFB as the headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command and the approximately 10,000 individuals that work there, we feel that this installation should remain open or be closed on its own merits.

Therefore, we respectfully ask that a hearing be held as to whether the BRAC process has been compromised. We do not want to see the name of a base from our state on a BRAC list and think it has been put there to settle partisan scores. We also do not want our bases to be more vulnerable to closure because political arm-twisting has taken another installation off the table. National security not partisanship should determine how BRAC decisions are made.

A tad less forceful than I would have written, but a solid effort.

Here is the list of Republican Senators who signed onto this letter:

The Republicans signing the letter were Sens. John Ensign of Nevada, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kit Bond of Missouri, Michael Enzi of Wyoming, George LeMieux of Florida, Pat Roberts of Kansas, David Vitter of Louisiana, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker of Mississipi, John Cornyn of Texas, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Bob Bennett of Utah, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Fellow Texans should note that Senator and gubernatorial candidate Kay Bailey Hutchinson is conspicuous by her absence from this group.

For their part, both the White House and Senator Nelson are denying any such threat ever existed. Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director had this to say:

This is nothing but a cynical, crass political game that is designed to maintain the status quo. Let’s be clear: the people spreading these falsehoods think nothing is wrong with a system under which families and businesses continue to bear the brunt of skyrocketing costs, insurance companies are allowed to discriminate and drop at will, and thousands of Americans lose their coverage every single day.

Isn’t it amazing how, in the face of being charged with high treason, the White House has their ridiculous talking points flying to the bitter end! I’m surprised Pfeiffer didn’t end by reminding us that all of this is for “the children!”

When I look at these people and hear them speak all I see is a bad used car salesman, plaid pants, white shoes, white belt, bad comb over, and all.

Obviously, this must be looked into. Hell, pretty much ever action Obama and Congress have taken since January needs to be gone over and reviewed! However, if this is indeed true, if Obama indeed offered to put our nation’s security in peril over his unconstitutional “health care” bill. He should be removed from office and charged with treason immediately, along with all of those who participated in and facilitated these actions.

It’s very easy to dismiss Obama as an inexperienced buffoon, who is simply too inept to govern, and while that may be true, it may also be by design. Nothing like a little misdirection to keep the public distracted while the real damage is being done.

As a citizen of the United States it is your duty to demand satisfaction on this matter. Congress, and the President, no matter what they may think, work for you. They are your employees. Obviously mass firings are coming in 2010, and a lot of new hires will be taking their places, but in the meantime, you must demand action. You must demand action from your Senators and from your Congressmen. You must also demand the media take a serious interest in this and actually investigate.

America is in crisis. Our government has been taken over by radicals who wish to destroy our American way of life. We must use any means necessary to stop this from happening. We must hold these evil men and women accountable.

America is on the brink of destruction from within. As we have warned all year, things will only get worse, unless you get involved.


Filed under In The News, Politics