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When should trading on inside info stay hidden?

Answer: When you’re a federal employee:

The U.S. House on Friday eliminated a key requirement of the insider trading law for most federal employees [ed: the 2012 STOCK Act], passing legislation exempting these workers, including congressional staff, from a rule scheduled to take effect next week that mandated online posting of financial transactions…

One advocacy group pushing for greater government transparency blasted the move, saying it “guts” the law…

To be precise: Federal employees would still have to report trades. But mainly to Big Brother. Not in a form that would let the proverbial Army of Davids (online citizen-journalists) catch inside trades.

But hey, at least we know now what the ‘gun control’ drama is about:

The House vote followed similar action by the Senate Thursday. The votes were done with little notice and came at a time when most people were paying attention to the Senate’s work on high profile issues like guns and immigration.

Hat tip, Zero Hedge.

UPDATE: The IRS is now watching your transactions; even your eBay auctions and Facebook updates.

Here’s the thing. As America has devolved into a social-fascist state these last several decades, we have increasingly developed a presumption that government employers can spy on monitor the taxpayers. But, taxpayers monitoring the government employees? Perish the thought! Repeal it by a unanimous vote of Congress, with Obama signing the repeal swiftly! That’s the opposite of what the American Revolution was fought for.

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11 Comments

  1. Reporting to Big Brother is not really reporting at all. Trades by government employees need to be reported to the people.

    I’ll enjoy the peace and quiet on this thread. It isn’t about a social issue, so the social responsible conservatives, or the Realists, or whatever they’re calling themselves today, will stay off of it.

    Comment by Lori Heine — April 15, 2013 @ 2:37 pm - April 15, 2013

  2. Right you are Lori. ILC, for me this is infuriating. I can’t sneeze without a regulator getting in my face. I can’t use yellow highlite or hand write a big X to indicate where to sign a form without violating a rule, yet these pissant politicians and their sycophants can get away with what what put Ivan in jail!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Boesky

    Comment by mixitup — April 15, 2013 @ 4:36 pm - April 15, 2013

  3. I watched the Boston Marathon coverage and the NBC commentator was already implying the blasts were the work of a ‘home-grown source’. (The NY Post is reporting that the suspect is a Saudi national.)

    Comment by Ignatius — April 15, 2013 @ 5:17 pm - April 15, 2013

  4. Congress should not be able to exempt themselves from laws they inflict on the rest of us. Insider trading is how so many of them become wealthy on a congressional salary. They should have to live with social security, Medicare and the horror of Obamacare. They are not our rulers although they sure act like they are nobility.

    Comment by Texann — April 15, 2013 @ 6:07 pm - April 15, 2013

  5. Trades by government employees political appointees need to be reported to the people.

    Personally that is how I would re-write that. Regular federal employees should have the same right as anyone else not to have their personal financial information posted on a public website, beyond their obvious salary data commensurate with their grade. (Assuming those of us in the private sector have that right as well.)

    Political appointees, OTOH, can suck it. You want that power, that should be part of the price you pay. And I second Texann’s comment re: congressional exemptions.

    Comment by Neptune — April 15, 2013 @ 10:13 pm - April 15, 2013

  6. Neptune: I see your point. However, it is still possible for the average government employee to have access to “inside info” and trade on it. What do we do about that?

    I don’t have a ready answer. I haven’t thought it through, as to what is the right degree of exposure or the right line to draw. That said, there is a reason it is called “public service”; it should come with some sort of expectation that the gov’t employee is not going to be corrupt, and as well, some means for ordinary taxpayers to monitor (at their initiative) for corruption.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 15, 2013 @ 10:52 pm - April 15, 2013

  7. ILC, I think that’s the harder question, and I completely understand your concern. I wish I had a good answer. There are rules against it, at least in the acquisition community where contracting personnel have ready access to what would be considered “material, non-public information”. But other employees who know those things? Not sure where the right balance is.

    Comment by Neptune — April 16, 2013 @ 9:45 am - April 16, 2013

  8. I just want to plug the idea that it is taxpayers who should be watching the government. Enough of government watching the taxpayers.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 16, 2013 @ 10:42 am - April 16, 2013

  9. Now that, good sir, is an idea I fully support. ;)

    Comment by Neptune — April 16, 2013 @ 11:01 am - April 16, 2013

  10. I just heard about this duplicitous crap today on NPR. I wish I could say I am surprised, but I guess I’m surprised that it took this long for them to find away around STOCK.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — April 16, 2013 @ 8:48 pm - April 16, 2013

  11. In fairness, there is one legitimate reason to keep this information private. There are some online brokerage accounts where the password reset procedure asks which securities in the account. I’d be very reluctant to disclose such information. Even if it only helps with the easiest part of a complex illegal act.

    Comment by Ckassically Liberal Dave — April 19, 2013 @ 7:32 am - April 19, 2013

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