It appears we can now add insider trading to all the other Obama Administration scandals. From the Washington Post:
Hundreds of federal employees were given advance word of a Medicare decision worth billions of dollars to private insurers in the weeks before the official announcement, a period when trading in the shares of those firms spiked.
The surge of trading in Humana’s and other private health insurers’ stock before the April 1 announcement already has prompted the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Wall Street investors had advance access to inside information about the then-confidential Medicare funding plan.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Washington Post late last week that his office reviewed the e-mail records of employees at the Department of Health and Human Services and found that 436 of them had early access to the Medicare decision as much as two weeks before it was made public.
The number of federal employees with advance knowledge is surely higher; the figures Grassley’s staff compiled did not include people at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget who also saw the information. The e-mail records of those employees have not been made available to Grassley.
That’s a lot of bureaucrats being given valuable information. Presumably, we’re supposed to trust them to not profit from said information and keep it to themselves like their brethren at the IRS kept confidential information from conservative groups secret. Oh wait. Former BLS economist Keith Hall, now at George Mason University, discusses the high potential for malfeasance:
Giving hundreds of government employees advance notice of a policy decision “is way too many,” said Hall, now a senior fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “I’ve done my share of working on policy issues and policy decisions, and you just don’t spread that stuff around like that.”
Even the most sensitive details can spread quickly in the porous environment of Capitol Hill.
And this, of course, is exactly what happened. Word got out and the stock of those health insurance companies expected to benefit from the Medicare Advantage decision soared prior to the official announcement. I’ve lost track of how many scandals the most ethical and transparent administration in history has become entangled in. Where does this one fit in and how many scandals are there now? Hot Air’s Allahpundit provides a rundown:
Is this scandal number five or number six? There’s Benghazi, the IRS, the DOJ snooping on reporters, Sebelius shaking down health executives for ObamaCare contributions, and now the NSA/PRISM/Snowden mega-clusterfark. This new WaPo story makes six. No, wait — seven. Ed just posted on the State Department covering up misconduct. We’re going to need a bigger boat.
And we’re only four and a half months into Obama’s second term. Stay tuned.