Bachus Back Against The Wall: "I'm not Going to Let People Distort What I Do.”

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Spencer Bachus Insider Trading

While much of the attention on an “insider trading” scandal in the Congress has focused on Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus (perhaps rightfully so), this ardent supporter of online gambling prohibition wasn’t exactly alone in his craftiness.

Both Speaker John Boehner and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi also have egg on their respective faces right now following the airing of a “60 Minutes” piece this past Sunday.

From Investment U:  

•   Current Speaker John Boehner bought healthcare insurance stocks right before the public option in President Obama’s healthcare plan was killed. Those stocks took off after the provision was defeated.

•   Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi bought into the Visa (NYSE: V )IPO despite the fact that the House was working on legislation affecting the credit card industry.

Meanwhile, Bachus is being seen as the worst culprit of them all. 

During the financial crisis in 2008, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Spencer Bachus was in a closed door meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that was so secretive cellphones and blackberries were confiscated. The next day, Bachus bought investments that would rise if the market fell.

Over the past couple of days since the segment aired there have been calls for the resignation of Bachus.  Even conservative radio show commentators are saying “off with his head”.

Following the nation’s free fall into economic Hell, Bachus decided to stop trading stocks late last year.  Millions of Americans by then has already lost their homes while millions more were about to.

"I'm not going to let people distort what I do. I'm not going to trade," Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, said in an interview Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Mary Orndorff of the Birmingham News had done an outstanding job of digging deeper into Bachus’ trading habits/trends


Records show that Bachus wheeled and dealed on his personal investment accounts while Congress was scrambling to come up with a rescue plan, and he made money doing it. Although he admits no wrongdoing, Bachus has been dogged by questions about his trading habits ever since.

On Tuesday, he responded to two specific allegations: that in July 2008 he bet against the very financial firms that he oversees as a member of the Financial Services Committee, and that he short-sold General Electric stock in September 2008 as a way to make a quick buck before it became public knowledge that the company was in financial trouble.

First, Bachus' disclosure report from 2008 shows that, on July 14 and 15, he bought and sold options in an indexed fund from the energy sector, not the financial sector, which is identified by a different three-letter fund name. Bachus said he has purposely avoided funds or companies involved in the financial sector since joining the Financial Services Committee.

"If they can say (those funds) represent the financial markets, well, that bell is rung. I can spend the next five years telling people I didn't sell out the financial markets," Bachus said.

Bachus is also alleged to have short sold on GE stock word that the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was about to list GE as a financial stock.

"I did not short GE. In fact, I bought GE," Bachus said. "Then I did exactly what I was supposed to do, and I did it as quickly as I could.”

One of the many comments appearing below Ms. Orndorff’s piece: 

Glad the redistricting has put me in district 6 as I'll be happy to vote Bachus out next November.

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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