One of the biggest scandals in American politics is waiting to explode: the full story of the inside game in Washington shows how the permanent political class enriches itself at the expense of the rest of us. Insider trading is illegal on Wall Street, yet it is routine among members of Congress. Normal individuals cannot get in on IPOs at the asking price, but politicians do so routinely. The Obama administration has been able to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to its supporters, ensuring yet more campaign donations. An entire class of investors now makes all of its profits based on influence and access in Washington. Peter Schweizer has doggedly researched through mountains of financial records, tracking complicated deals and stock trades back to the timing of briefings, votes on bills, and every other point of leverage for politicians in Washington. The result is a manifesto for revolution: the Permanent Political Class must goWhy is this relevant? Because the Washington Post is out with a story today about Health and Human Services employees engaging in insider trading with stocks involved in Medicare.
Hundreds of federal employees were given advance word of a Medicare decision worth billions of dollars to private insurers in the weeks before the official announcement, a period when trading in the shares of those firms spiked.More from Allahpundit on why this is a big deal:
The surge of trading in Humana’s and other private health insurers’ stock before the April 1 announcement already has prompted the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Wall Street investors had advance access to inside information about the then-confidential Medicare funding plan.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Washington Post late last week that his office reviewed the e-mail records of employees at the Department of Health and Human Services and found that 436 of them had early access to the Medicare decision as much as two weeks before it was made public.
The number of federal employees with advance knowledge is surely higher; the figures Grassley’s staff compiled did not include people at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget who also saw the information. The e-mail records of those employees have not been made available to Grassley.
There are two potential scandals here. One is HHS tossing around what was supposed to be sensitive information to a huge swath of employees in-house. The other scandal is who actually leaked it, assuming anyone did. It might not have come from HHS at all but rather from some old-fashioned Beltway congressional/lobbyist incest. As with most of the other Obama scandals, this story is less about O himself than about the foreseeable abuses that result as the federal whale grows. You can have bigger government or you can have more accountable government. The guy who signed ObamaCare into law has made his choiceBig government equals big problems, people. Scandalpalooza is an understatement. Lets not forget about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius practically extorting funds from private companies HHS regulates in order to fund ObamaCare.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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