Money Party Likes Money

Is anyone really surprised by this?

Schweizer: There are all sorts of forms of honest grafts that congressmen engage in that allow them to become very, very wealthy. So it’s not illegal, but I think it’s highly unethical, I think it’s highly offensive, and wrong.

Steve Kroft: What do you mean honest graft?

Schweizer: For example insider trading on the stock market. If you are a member of Congress, those laws are deemed not to apply.

Kroft: So congressman get a pass on insider trading?

Schweizer: They do. The fact is, if you sit on a healthcare committee and you know that Medicare, for example, is– is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug that’s market moving information. And if you can trade stock on– off of that information and do so legally, that’s a great profit making opportunity. And that sort of behavior goes on.

Kroft: Why does Congress get a pass on this?

Schweizer: It’s really the way the rules have been defined. And the people who make the rules are the political class in Washington. And they’ve conveniently written them in such a way that they don’t apply to themselves.

Thanks to reader R for sending this in.






24 replies
  1. 1
    Scott says:

    Who cares about that? Hippies are in the park! That’s the real crisis!

  2. 2
    El Cid says:

    You just hate the successful and want to take what they have.

  3. 3
    wilfred says:

    So neither Kroft nor Schweizer know the origin of the term ‘honest graft’?

  4. 4

    Schweizer is a Breitbart hack. In the words of his demi-god, trust but verify.

  5. 5
    Michael D. says:

    Not sure if this Rolling Stone article has been discussed here yet, but I read it this morning. Not a lot new, but laid out very nicely and in a way that maybe even a borderline Republican voter might understand and/or care about.

    How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich

  6. 6
    Cacti says:

    And their “honest graft” is on top of their Congressional salary that’s 3.5 times the US median household income, with multiple health insurance options, and an extremely generous pension.

    But they’re important people who deserve things. Not like you.

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    @wilfred: Kind of makes you marvel again at Sarah Palin’s shrewd skills in bankrupting Wasilla, in which she announced where the multi-million dollar sports complex was to be built before obtaining rights to the land. This taught her an important lesson: if you’re going to flush someone’s money down the drain, make sure you actually have an angle on it.

  8. 8
    Ben Cisco says:

    Looks like Princess Nancy is not amused:
    __

    I was the Speaker the credit card industry feared most–tonight’s CBS smear not based on facts: http://goo.gl/ghOFV

    And from the link she included:
    __

    Right-wing media have used questioning by CBS’ Steve Kroft of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to accuse her of a “conflict of interest” based on an investment in Visa, ignoring her shepherding of historic credit card reform. Kroft’s questioning will air on tonight’s 60 Minutes, which was reportedly based on a forthcoming book by Peter Schweizer, the editor in chief of one of Andrew Breitbart’s websites. Schweizer has worked on behalf of President Bush, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin, and drew criticism for a previous false attack on Pelosi.

  9. 9
    Paul in KY says:

    @wilfred: George Plunkett is rolling over in his grave.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    @Ben Cisco: The clunkiest part of that was when Kroft followed the bit about Pelosi’s investment with how the bill went nowhere — I mean, at the very least you’d want to suggest some way in which Pelosi was involved in making it go nowhere.

    However, this is a parallel point to the story — the story’s not just on politicians changing their stances on legislation or such, but on using their insider positions to make investments based upon a form of information that others don’t possess.

  11. 11
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    You may hate Breitbart, but at least he’s being bipartisan in his finger pointing. He’s screaming about Sessions and demanding that he resign.

    And yeah, Nancy and her husband made out like bandits on that Visa IPO. No only were they able to get on it, which is very rare for an individual investor, but Nancy would have had a big role in preventing the bill in question (which would have lowered the interchange fees that credit card companies can charge merchants) from coming up for a vote, given her position as Speaker. What finally did pass, a couple of years later, didn’t affect interchange fees.

  12. 12
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    The perfect “both sides are corrupt” story for the media corpse. It’s going to be a long week.

  13. 13
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    Oops, wrong pol from Alabama. Edit Sessions for Spencer Bachus.

  14. 14

    @The Spy Who Loved Me:

    Breitbart is bipartisan but with an agenda to destroy Congress. His hackery transcends partisanship.

    I mean, look at you: At no point do you show any role that Pelosi had in this (something that literally hundreds of people would know if true). You just say it must be true because it could have been true.

    Sorry, but this is hackery. This is the equivalent of Breitbart sacrificing a pawn to get his oppoenents rook.

  15. 15

    @The Spy Who Loved Me:

    Breitbart is bipartisan but with an agenda to destroy Congress. His hackery transcends partisanship.

    I mean, look at you: At no point do you show any role that Pelosi had in this (something that literally hundreds of people would know if true). You just say it must be true because it could have been true.

    Sorry, but this is hackery. This is the equivalent of Breitbart sacrificing a pawn to get his opponents rook.

  16. 16
    El Cid says:

    So is the entire issue, the entire question, raised in the CBS story, Breitbart v not-Breitbart? Is there any objectively-existing issue regarding the ability of politicians (specifically members of Congress) to take financial advantage of information regarding upcoming legislation?

    If one is concerned about such a thing — at least that the CBS story plausibly suggests it’s something that happens — does this make a person a Breitbart stooge? Is that how the whole issue boils down?

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    @El Cid: Nope. What it should do is make us ask questions about our own hometown Reps and Sens about how they are taking advantage of this law. Some are millionaires going in, but so few are paupers going out. Their AXA advisor is better than mine, apparently.

  18. 18

    I find it outrageous that Schweitzer got a 60 minutes feature and Larry Lessig didn’t.

  19. 19

    Outrageous. So much for the rule of law.

  20. 20
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    @existential fish:

    No, the Newsweek story very clearly shows that this is a case of “both parties do it.” These people sit on committees that allow them to have information that the general public doesn’t have and then trade stocks based on this information. The outrage is that it is not against the law.

    Another case of Washington’s Rules For Thee But Not For Me mentality.

  21. 21
    catclub says:

    @existential fish: Is outrageous another synonym for unsurprising?

  22. 22
    Bill Murray says:

    @Suffern ACE: I think the last Senator to not make any money outside of his Senate salary was James Abourezk of South Dakota who left the Senate in 1979

  23. 23
    Hob says:

    @The Spy Who Loved Me: But what existential fish was objecting to, I think, wasn’t the suggestion that Congresspeople had inside info; it was the part where you said “Nancy would have had a big role in preventing the bill in question … from coming up for a vote” and then didn’t provide any evidence that she actually did so. (ETA: I could easily believe it; I don’t care to put Pelosi on a pedestal. But I don’t like that use of “would have.”)

  24. 24
    dollared says:

    CBS couldn’t manage to remember where this all came from:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....n-Congress

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