We are so very shocked

Aren’t you? To think that our Congress members would personally benefit from their positions is just unthinkable — if you’re a moron. No, the real shocker is that it’s perfectly permissible under Congressional “ethics” rules:

One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.


The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010.


Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation. The 130 lawmakers traded stocks or bonds in companies as bills passed through their committees or while Congress was still considering the legislation. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, 68 to 62.


Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) reported buying $25,000 in bonds in a genetic-technology company around the time that he released a hold on legislation the firm supported. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) sold between $50,000 and $100,000 in General Electric stock shortly before a Republican filibuster killed legislation sought by the company. The family of Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) bought between $286,000 and $690,000 in a high-tech company interested in a bill under his committee’s jurisdiction.


The trades were uncovered as part of an ongoing examination by The Post of the intersection between the personal finances of lawmakers and their professional duties. Earlier this year, Congress responded to criticism of potential conflicts of interest by passing the Stock Act, which bars lawmakers, their staffs and top executive branch officials from trading on inside information acquired on Capitol Hill.

Consider the source

I saw this ad this morning, and went to the Restore Our Future website to get information. There was none. So I looked on Wikipedia:

As of March 2012, Restore Our Future raised almost $43 million, of which almost half came from Wall Street contributors.[4]


As of August 2011, the largest individual contributor to Restore Our Future was John Paulson, a billionaire and hedge fund manager who is, according to Politico, “famous for [having enriched] himself by betting on the collapse of the housing industry.”[3] An additional million dollars came from W Spann LLC, an entity with no record of actual business activities.[6] W Spann LLC was formed, donated to the PAC, and then dissolved in a matter of months,[7][8] attracting concerns from election-watchdog groups and campaign-finance experts about the use of dummy corporations to shield large campaign contributions from public scrutiny.[6]


Several watchdog groups requested that the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission investigate donations to Restore Our Future from W Spann LLC as possible violations of campaign-finance law.[9] Restore Our Future declined to provide additional details about the donation and asserted that it had complied with existing laws. In response to rumors, a spokesman for Bain Capital, an equity firm previously headed by Romney, stated that W Spann LLC “is not affiliated with Bain Capital or any of our employees.”[6] Shortly thereafter, Edward Conard, a former top executive at Bain Capital who retired in 2007, came forward to state that he had formed W Spann LLC and funded and authorized the $1 million contribution.[10]Conard requested that Restore Our Future amend its filings to reflect that he, rather than W Spann LLC, donated the $1 million.[11][12]


Another entity, Paumanok Partners LLC, contributed $250,000 to Restore Our Future. It has been traced back to Romney donor William Laverack, Jr.[13] Glenbrook L.L.C. was originally reported as donating $250,000 in August 2011, but in an amended filing with the FEC the Glenbrook donation was replaced by two $125,000 donations by Jesse Rogers, a former executive at Bain & Company.[14]

Two additional $1 million contributions came from corporations registered to the offices of two executives of Nu Skin Enterprises, a Utah-based multilevel marketing company selling skin-care products and dietary supplements.[3] Other large contributors included members of the Marriott family, hedge-fund managers, and investors in Bain Capital.[3]

Several Affiliates of Melaleuca, Inc., an Idaho-based multilevel marketing[15] company owned by Frank L. VanderSloot, have donated a total of approx. $1 million to the PAC.[16] VanderSloot is also a national finance co-chairman of the Romney campaign.[17]

[edit]From federal contractors

Despite a 36-year-old ban against federal contractors making federal political expenditures, Restore Our Future has accepted donations of $890,000 from at least five such companies, who are taking advantage of a legal gray area created by the U.S. Supreme Court‘s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United caseOxbow Carbon, a major coal and petroleum company founded by William Koch that contracts with the Tennessee Valley Authority, gave $750,000, and has insisted such donations are now legal. Another company, M.C. Dean, a Virginia-based electrical engineering company, donated $5,000, but has asked the funds to be returned after consulting with lawyers. The other companies are: B/E Aerospace, a U.S. Department of Defensecontractor, which gave $50,000; Clinical Medical Services, which contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs, donated $25,000; and Suffolk Construction Co., which is building a U.S. Naval base, donated $60,000.[18]

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