The Journal analysis showed that an aide to a Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee bought Bank of America Corp. stock before results of last year's government stress tests eased investor concerns about the health of the banking industry. A top aide to the House Speaker profited by trading shares of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in a brokerage account with her husband two days before the government authorized emergency funding for the companies. Another aide to Republican lawmakers interested in energy issues, among other things, profited by trading in several renewable-energy firms.Is this a conflict of interest? The WSJ reporters claim that insider trading law don't apply to Congress, but another blogger, lawyer Stephen Bainbridge, explains that they would be covered -- and are now potentially liable.
The key point is that the staffers have no blanket immunity from those laws in the way that members of Congress do. The problem is that the gutless SEC has been even less willing to go after staffers than it was to go after, say, Madoff for all those years... It's appalling what those folks in DC get up to, especially when most of them spend so much of their time demonizing business.