June 26, 2012

Congress and Trading Based on Lobbying Activities

On Sunday, the Washington Post ran this front-page, lengthy article about the extent to which members of Congress trade in stocks of companies that lobby them. It is a meandering piece that explains how the new Stock Act fails to prohibit trading that can easily be perceived as giving an advantage to Congress (and fails to prohibit trading to the extent that laws reining in senior members of federal agencies do). To me, that is the central point – perception is everything. And that is reflected by the fact that nearly 2000 people have commented on the article – most of them raking Congress over the coals.

The bizarre thing is that the WaPo article gets into the details of a number of specific trades – but most of the dertails seem to clear the profiled Congress-folk of any wrongdoing (this blog agrees there were no smoking guns found). On the other hand, there are excerpts such as this that would sound like classic insider trading to the layperson:

“[a]t least 34 members of Congress recast their portfolios following phone calls or meetings with high-ranking Treasury Department and Federal Reserve officials during the economic crisis.”

The bottom line is that Congress should take the perception point to heart and either require all members of Congress to use blind trusts to trade – or at least impose upon themselves the same stringent laws that they apply to federal agencies…

SEC Posts Internal Memo on Conducting Economic Analysis for Rulemaking

Last week, the SEC posted its internal memo about how it will conduct economic analysis when it is involved with rulemaking in the wake of last year’s loss in the proxy access lawsuit in the District of Columbia Circuit court.

More on our “Proxy Season Blog”

We continue to post new items regularly on our “Proxy Season Blog” for members. Members can sign up to get that blog pushed out to them via email whenever there is a new entry by simply inputting their email address on the left side of that blog. Here are some of the latest entries:

– Anarchy Comes to an Annual Shareholders Meeting in Pittsburgh – And Executive Compensation is One of the Reasons!
– Loeb Tries to Win a Yahoo Proxy Battle, One Blog Post at a Time
– Six Companies to Provide More Auditor Information
– Questions that Shareholder Might Ask During Annual Meetings
– Exclusive Forum Proposal Survives No-Action Challenge
– AFL-CIO Releases Updated Proxy Voting Guidelines

Deal Cube Tournament: Round Two; 5th Match

As noted in these rules (and keep sending more pics for the next tourney), please vote for two of the following four cubes below:

Cereal Boxes in Bowl and Spoon
Pillsbury Dough Boy
Logging Truck

Online Surveys & Market Research

– Broc Romanek