Congress-Crooks Meeting to Edit Their Lies

The House Ethics Committee…..among others…..will be meeting today to exchange lies about how they are concerned about members of Congress using their positions for insider trading. Profiting in investments while writing the regulations governing those investments.

Jonathan Ferro and the crew at Bloomberg Surveillance chuckled over this hypocrisy, this morning. Probably every Congress-pimp you see on TV today will have their own media crew recording for posterity – and raw footage to use in campaign advertising for mid-term elections.

Ear plugs will serve you better than a grain of salt.

Republican Congressman indicted for insider trading


Republican Congressman Collins and His Fearless LeaderThe Nation

❝ Five GOP House members bought shares of an Australian biotechnology company in January 2017 that’s at the center of an insider trading indictment of New York Republican Chris Collins, congressional financial disclosures show.

Collins, who represents a district in western New York, is the only lawmaker accused by prosecutors of wrongdoing — stemming from his role on Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd.’s board, not his position in the House.

But the allegations against him, along with the other lawmakers’ holdings, highlight how members of Congress face few restrictions on their investments, creating the potential for conflicts of interest, or the appearance of a conflict…

❝ Collins, one of the biotechnology company’s largest shareholders who served on the board and had access to information that wasn’t public, is accused of tipping off his son about the trial results for a drug to treat a form of multiple sclerosis, according to federal prosecutors in New York. His son Cameron Collins then passed along the information to others. The son and others who received the tip sold more than 1.78 million shares in the days before the trial results were announced, avoiding losses of $768,000…

Trump provides apt leadership for the majority of creeps in government. As Mark Twain said, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress”.

Equifax hack — Executive stock sale before announcement

❝ A U.S. senator has called for a criminal investigation of executives from credit bureau Equifax for stock sales after a massive data breach this summer, and said their actions were comparable to insider trading.

The breach, which the company learned about in July but did not acknowledge until this month, also prompted expressions of concern from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Federal Trade Commission. Cyber security experts believe it is one of the largest data hacks ever disclosed…

❝ Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Banking Committee, said it was “disturbing” that it appeared executives sold nearly $2 million worth of company stock in the time between learning of a sweeping hacker intrusion and making it public.

“If that happened, somebody needs to go to jail,” Heitkamp said at a credit union industry conference in Washington. “It’s a problem when people can act with impunity with no consequences. How is that not insider trading?”

I’ll second that emotion.

BTW, since this article was published, it turns out Equifax learned about the hack even earlier than previously admitted.

Trump’s Personal Lawyer Brags That He Got Preet Bharara Fired

❝ Marc Kasowitz, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer in the Russia investigation, has boasted to friends and colleagues that he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to four people familiar with the conversations.

Kasowitz told Trump, “This guy is going to get you,” according to a person familiar with Kasowitz’s account.

❝ Those who know Kasowitz say he is sometimes prone to exaggerating when regaling them with his exploits. But if true, his assertion adds to the mystery surrounding the motive and timing of Bharara’s firing.

❝ New presidents typically ask U.S. attorneys to resign and have the power to fire them. But Trump asked Bharara to stay in his job when they met in November at Trump Tower, as Bharara announced after the meeting.

In early March, Trump reversed himself. He asked all the remaining U.S. attorneys to resign, including Bharara. Bharara, a telegenic prosecutor with a history of taking on powerful politicians, refused and was fired March 11.

As ProPublica previously reported, at the time of Bharara’s firing the Southern District was conducting an investigation into Trump’s secretary of health and human services, Tom Price…

❝ The Southern District of New York conducts some of the highest profile corporate investigations in the country. According to news reports…the office is…looking into Russian money-laundering allegations at Deutsche Bank, Trump’s principal private lender…

❝ …More than three months after Bharara was fired, Trump has not nominated anyone to fill the Southern District job or most of the other U.S. attorney positions.

That shouldn’t surprise anyone, either.

Wall Street VP, Evangelical Baptist minister – just the thief you can trust, eh?


Korchevsky’s Sunday gig, Wall Street during the week, full-time crook

A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., has ordered that Vitaly Korchevsky, a former Morgan Stanley vice president arrested for allegedly trading on confidential corporate information stolen by hackers in Ukraine, be released on $2 million bond.

Mr. Korchevsky, 50 years old, also will be required to pay a $200,000 cash deposit, surrender his and his family’s passports, wear an ankle bracelet for location monitoring and restrict his movements to certain parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

Prosecutors had pressed for the judge to keep Mr. Korchevsky detained in federal custody. They alleged that Mr. Korchevsky was one of the biggest beneficiaries of an elaborate scheme in which overseas hackers stole nonpublic corporate information stored in newswires’ systems and gave it to financial traders, who used the press releases to make lucrative bets.

Mr. Korchevsky alone made more than $17 million in profits from the insider-trading scheme, prosecutors allege, and $10 million of that already has been frozen by the government…Charges…include securities fraud and money-laundering conspiracy…

Mr. Korchevsky has been a Baptist pastor for decades, and dozens of his friends, family and congregants came to support him at Wednesday’s hearing—an estimated 80 to 90 people, according to Mr. Korchevsky’s lawyer Steven Brill. So many people packed into the Brooklyn federal courthouse that an overflow room had to be set up, which is unusual for a routine bail hearing. Some showed up from as far away as Spokane, Wash…

“If you don’t play ball, you’re going to disappoint a lot of people,” Judge Dearie said to Mr. Korchevsky, citing “the faith that hundreds of people have placed in him.”

Mr. Korchevsky is one of five defendants arrested in the U.S. for the alleged scheme. Criminal charges also have been filed against four others who are still at large in Ukraine. International warrants have been issued for their arrest.

Gotta love Korchevsky’s lawyer who claimed he was no flight risk because if he fled back to Ukraine he’d be leaving his wife and children behind in the US. Given the list of crimes he’s charged with, the “ethics” he ignored both on Wall Street and as a pastor, why presume he’s not above walking out on his family?

He’s handing over $200K to guarantee his presence at trial. Gee, that only leaves him with $7 million or so to take with him if he skips out on his family.

Congressional committee ordered to court – hiding info on insider trading

A U.S. judge on Friday directed the House Ways and Means Committee and a staffer to appear at a July 1 hearing to address their alleged refusal to respond to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenas as part of an insider trading probe.

The order by U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in New York covers both the committee and Brian Sutter, staff director for its healthcare subcommittee and came at the SEC’s request.

The SEC said it is examining whether material nonpublic information concerning an April 1, 2013 announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of 2014 reimbursement rates for a Medicare program was leaked improperly, and whether anyone traded on that information…

According to the SEC, the House committee has resisted the subpoenas, in part by arguing that the U.S. Constitution shields lawmakers from having to testify or turn over documents…

As usual, the creeps in Congress think they are above the law.

In court papers on Friday, the SEC said it was looking into an email that a lobbyist at the law firm Greenberg Traurig sent to broker-dealer Height Securities regarding a deal struck in Congress about the Medicare rates.

It said that email was 70 minutes before CMS announced the rates after U.S. markets closed, and about 30 minutes before Height issued a report suggesting that the change could help companies such as Humana and Health Net.

The SEC said the share prices of both companies jumped after the report, with Humana’s rising 7 percent in the last 15 minutes of trading.

Sutter, meanwhile, had on the day of the announcement been emailing the Greenberg Traurig lobbyist about the termination of a client from the Medicare program, the SEC said. Both then spoke on the phone for three minutes, which was 10 minutes before the lobbyist emailed Height, the SEC said.

I would love to see US Marshalls march into the House of Representatives and handcuff some of these sleazy bastards and cart ’em away for refusal to answer a subpoena. Ordinary mortals, plain old American citizens don’t get to behave like monarchs. Congress-critters consider it as much of a right as being able to lie unchallenged.

Congress starts gutting the law prohibiting their insider trading


Obama signing the STOCK Act, last year. No fanfare, this week, for the change that hides transactions.

The legislative process on Capitol Hill is often slow and grinding. There are committee hearings, filibuster threats and hours of floor debate. But sometimes, when Congress really wants to get something done, it can move blindingly fast…

A year ago, President Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act into law at a celebratory ceremony attended by a bipartisan cast of lawmakers…

The law wouldn’t just outlaw trading on nonpublic information by members of Congress, the executive branch and their staffs. It would greatly expand financial disclosures and make all of the data searchable so insider trading and conflicts of interest would be easier to detect.

On Monday, when the president signed a bill reversing big pieces of the law, the emailed announcement was one sentence long. There was no fanfare last week either, when the Senate and then the House passed the bill in largely empty chambers using a fast-track procedure known as unanimous consent.

In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., shepherded the bill through. It was Friday afternoon at 12:52. Many members had already left for the weekend or were on their way out. The whole process took only 30 seconds. There was no debate…

“There were particular concerns about risks for those who either travel overseas on government business or work overseas,” says Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, who represents many of the 28,000 executive branch employees.

An independent study said there were also risks of identity theft, which she says the new law helps avoid…

The White House cited the independent report in explaining why the president signed the bill. And a spokesman for Cantor said the House and Senate were simply following recommendations of the study.

…Two major elements of the law remain. Insider trading is illegal, even for members of Congress and the executive branch. And for those who are still covered by the now-narrower law, disclosures of large stock trades are required within 45 days. It will just be harder to get to them.

Eric Cantor and his bubbas proved that legal chicanery is still the fastest and easiest thing to get through Congress. Making it difficult for voters to see what their elected representatives and staff are doing in bed with lobbyists is the opposite of transparency.

The president could have vetoed the bill and sent it back to the House and Senate for revisions that would have retained the original purpose – transparency in Congress and online access for voters. He chose to let the bill slide through as is.

I wonder what the next revision will be? After the 2014 elections, of course.

FBI busts portfolio manager at SAC Capital hedge fund

Steven Cohen
Steven Cohen

U.S. prosecutors on Friday charged Michael Steinberg, a veteran portfolio manager with Steven A. Cohen’s $15 billion hedge fund, with engaging in insider trading in two technology stocks, the most senior SAC Capital Advisors employee to be charged in the government’s long-running probe.

The five-count indictment was announced a few hours after Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived at Steinberg’s home in New York City at around 6 a.m. ET and arrested him.

Federal prosecutors are charging Steinberg, 40, with using inside information to make trades in shares of Dell and chipmaker Nvidia that generated about $1.4 million in illegal profits for Cohen’s hedge fund…

SAC Capital spokesman Jonathan Gasthalter said: “Mike has conducted himself professionally and ethically during his long tenure at the firm. We believe him to be a man of integrity…”

In a related civil complaint against Steinberg, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the information allowed Steinberg to generate $6.4 million in profits and avoided losses for Cohen’s hedge fund.

Steinberg is one of nine current or former employees of SAC Capital who have been charged or implicated with insider trading while working at Cohen’s 2-decade-old hedge fund…

The arrest comes two weeks after SAC agreed to pay a record $616 million to the SEC to settle civil charges of insider trading. SAC neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing at that time.

But the government made clear that that settlement did not preclude further charges.

The DOJ’s policy on Wall Street – in general – is to bust the little fish, negotiate a deal on jail time to get them to testify against the heavy hitters at the top of the pyramid. Then, they settle for a chunk of money from the firm’s coffers. Unfortunately, in an era of untouchable Wall Street bosses, that’s not sufficient to make any changes in behavior.

The name of the game is Never Steal Anything Small. When you have the top man at SAC spending over $100 million for a Picasso for his new $60 million beach cottage – he may whine over the fine; but, staying outside of the slammer is what really counts. He can always hustle more money.

Harvard Doctor turns hedge fund profiteer, then, convict – after sentence for insider trading

From the age of six, Joseph F. “Chip” Skowron III aspired to be a doctor. At Yale, he earned both a medical degree and a doctorate in molecular and cellular biology, then qualified for Harvard’s elite, five-year residency program. Three years in, Skowron quit medicine for Wall Street. He and two partners started a group of health-care investment funds under the auspices of FrontPoint Partners LLC, a hot new property in the exploding world of hedge funds.

Skowron was soon making millions of dollars a year. He built a gabled, 10,000-square-foot home on three acres in the nation’s hedge-fund capital, Greenwich, Connecticut. He assembled a small fleet of pricey cars, including a 2006 Aston Martin Vanquish and a 2009 Alfa Romeo Spider 8C. He also spent vacation time engaged in Third World humanitarian causes…

Today, Skowron…is serving a five-year term for insider trading at the federal prison at Minersville, Pennsylvania. At FrontPoint, Skowron lied to his bosses and law enforcement authorities, cost more than 35 people their jobs and stooped to slipping envelopes of cash to an accomplice. FrontPoint is gone. Morgan Stanley, which once owned FrontPoint, is seeking more than $65 million from Skowron, whose net worth a year ago was $22 million. Until he’s a free man, his wife of 16 years will have to care for their four children and Rocky, their golden retriever, on her own…

Health care has become America’s sweet spot for insider traders like Skowron. Among researchers, physicians, government officials and corporate executives, the lure of easy money in health-care insider trading has become epidemic. Since 2008, about 400 people were sued by regulators or charged with insider trading; of those, at least 94 passed or received tips involving pharmaceutical, biotechnology or other health-care stocks.

RTFA for the cautionary tale of humanitarian physician – turned scumbag profiteer, insider trader on Wall Street.

Congress — sort of — bans insider trading


Here’s where Congress’ principled motivation came from

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill on Thursday to ban insider trading by members of Congress and to impose new ethics requirements on lawmakers and federal agency officials. Doesn’t that look meaningful? Look further for the reality.

The 417-to-2 vote came less than three weeks after President Obama demanded such action in his State of the Union address. The Senate approved a similar bill by a vote of 96 to 3 on Feb. 2, but the lopsided votes concealed deep disagreements over the details of the legislation.

The swift response and the debate in both chambers showed lawmakers defensive and anxious about the low esteem in which Congress is held. The public approval rating of Congress has sunk below 15 percent…

Democrats said that House Republican leaders had weakened the Senate-passed bill by stripping out a provision that would, for the first time, regulate firms that collect “political intelligence” for hedge funds, mutual funds and other investors. Under the Senate bill, such firms would have to register and report their activities, as lobbyists do.

In place of this requirement, the House version of the bill calls for a study…blah, blah, blah.

Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, who has been pushing ethics legislation since 2006, said that House Republican leaders apparently “could not stomach pressure from the political intelligence community, which is unregulated and unseen and operates in the dark…”

In the Senate, the bill — the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or Stock Act — was written by members of both parties. In the House, it was revised by Republican leaders, without consulting Democrats, and it was considered on the House floor in a way that precluded amendments…

Please, don’t expect too much bona fide work on ethics from a Congress dedicated to achieving little or nothing. Given the lack of concern for the life and economics of ordinary citizens by our elected elite – I wouldn’t expect much more than the odd sound bite’s worth of useful lawmaking to spill from the Congressional maw.

Even this halfway useful bill resulted from media pressure. Congress members who have been introducing such legislation for years have gotten nowhere. Only election year publicity on a couple of TV shows lit a fire under political butts.