When President Obama signed the STOCK Act into law on April 4, it appeared that the country was finally on the road to curbing "insider trading" by members of Congress and their staffs. Members from both sides of the aisle were giddy as they hailed the "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act" as a move that would restore trust in government by making members and their staffs disclose their stock transactions within 45 days.
However, there were skeptics in the Capitol when it came to those exempted from the Act. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) railed that the Act did nothing to stop the lucrative and un-American industry of unnamed individuals selling "political intelligence" (he called it "political espionage") to Wall Street and offshore investment firms. He called for these pirates of "non-public information" to register as lobbyists and disclose to whom they were selling the inside dope. In the House, that provision was stripped out by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, drawing outrage from an emotional Grassley.
And now in a masterful case of investigative journalism, CNN reporters Deidre Walsh and Dana Bash have uncovered even more of Cantor's deceptive and intentional gutting of the Act. Their report revealed a huge discrepancy in the Senate and House Bill... namely, the exemption of spouses and dependent children. The CNN report revealed that the Senate bill did include a provision that covered spouses and children, "but when Cantor's office wrote the House version, this language was shifted to a different section of the bill." Spouses and dependent children were exempted from the House's new reporting requirements.
When CNN first came across this discrepancy in the Senate and House versions, Cantor's office claimed "it did nothing to change the intent of the STOCK Act. But when pressed with the new information uncovered by CNN, the majority leader's office conceded it made changes to the House bill that effectively took out the requirement for spouses and children to file these reports."
Finally, once they knew they were caught, Cantor's office acted like CNN hadn't written down their first answer by saying: "Since new information has been brought to our attention with respect to this discrepancy, we are reviewing our options regarding transaction reports in the House of Representatives."
How could this information be "new" to Cantor? He was the one who changed it and moved it to a different section of the bill.
Cantor's office also told CNN they hadn't figured out when or how to fix it. He's Majority Leader, and he doesn't know when or how? The truth is he could fix it today if he wanted to. He called for 33 different votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and he can't call for a way to eliminate the "spousal and dependent children exemption" from the House version of the STOCK Act?
What is Cantor's motive? There is so much smoke floating around Cantor the Capitol Police should check the batteries in his office's fire alarms. Could it have to do with his own spouse (who he exempted from the House version) being a partner in the investment firm of Alternative Investment Management LLC., a company who deals in hedge funds for "high net worth individuals"?
It is no secret that Cantor was TARP's head cheerleader in the House, and AIM's president and both of the listed partners, including Mrs. Cantor, were formerly with Goldman Sachs (who received $10 billion in the bailout). According to Cantor's financial disclosure form, Mrs. Cantor at the time was with New York Private Bank & Trust who also received $267 million in the bailout. Of note, NYPBT is one of the top 10 banks who haven't paid back a dime to American taxpayers.
Also, SEC filings show that Mrs. Cantor's investment firm, Alternative Investment Management LLC., has a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands with assets of $134,570,536. While she is listed as a partner in AIM, Mrs. Cantor is not listed on any SEC filings. This raises two very serious questions. Is somebody trying to hide her name? Is her only job to sell political intelligence? Since his spouse is a named partner in AIM, a moron can see that Cantor obviously appears to ahve a personal financial stake and conflict in "spousal exemption," and with it, offshore tax games.
Dave "Mudcat" Saunders is a senior strategist for Wayne Powell (D), who is running for Virginia's 7th Congressional District against Rep. Eric Cantor (R).
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