Written by: Russ Friend
Speaker of the House John Boehner is manipulating the markets and public sentiment for his own profit under the guise of job creation and lower gas prices. Washington lawmakers are exempt from the laws covering insider trading, and Boehner has exploited this loophole and his position to increase his personal wealth at the public’s expense.
One year before Boehner’s public ruckus regarding the Keystone XL oil pipeline began, he purchased upwards of $350,000.00 in stocks from the very companies that would benefit from the installation of the pipeline. By pushing for the construction of the pipeline, the value of the stocks increased dramatically.
Stocks must be held for one year in order to qualify for the long-term capital gains tax rates, otherwise they will be taxed at the same rate as your income. The maximum long-term capital gains tax rate for 2011 was 15 percent, which is much lower than the regular tax rates. It is why Warren Buffett pays much less in taxes than his secretary, and it appears to be why Boehner waited a year before pushing his personal wealth pipeline upon an unsuspecting American public.
The push for the Keystone XL oil pipeline was not about creating jobs. It was not about reducing the price of gas at the pump. It was about increasing Boehner’s personal wealth through the exploitation of congressional loopholes covering insider trading laws, coupled with his position as Speaker of the House, to manipulate the public.
Today, the practice of insider trading by members of congress is not illegal, but thanks to shows like “The Daily Show,” this reprehensible behavior may be finally coming to an end.
A few months ago, the debate over congressional insider trading was brought to light, and public condemnation and outrage was swift and severe. Representative Louise M. Slaughter, a Democrat from New York, had been trying for years to enact restrictions that force lawmakers to abide by the same rules of law that everyone else adheres to. Until recently, Republican lawmakers stonewalled all proposed legislation. This legislation was nicknamed the “Bills to Nowhere.” However, public pressure has been instrumental in pushing through this legislation.
This past Thursday, the members of the Senate voted overwhelming to approve an ethics bill that will make the practice of insider trading by members of Congress illegal.
Last month, it was approved by the House. In a shocking turn of events, the bill received nearly unanimous support. Of the 518 votes cast by the members of the House and Senate, only five votes opposed the bill. This would not have happened without the public’s support of Slaughter’s bill.
I urge you to contact your representatives and let them know that you want them to adhere to the same laws that you do. It is time for them to stop manipulating the system.
What Boehner did was not illegal under current laws, but it was ethically reprehensible. Please remember to keep this mind when you are in the voting booth this November.
I’m tired of the lies. Are you?