by Leigh Bravo 10/6/14
Who is Mark Warner? He has been a Senator for the state of Virginia since 2008 and is running for re-election this November for another 6 years. He has voted with President Obama 97% of his time in office. He has worked in government since the early 1980’s, and is currently the 2nd richest Senator in office with a net worth over $200 million.
How did he make his fortune? There have been strong suggestions that while he was a staffer for then Senator, Chris Dodd, Democrat for Connecticut, he had insider information about the newly emerging wireless industry; specifically spectrum licensing. As a result, he was able to profit from his federal beneficence. Often at speaking events, Warner hears a cell phone ring and says,
“Those cell phones…most people consider them an annoyance, but I just hear cha-ching, cha-ching.”
Up until 2012, members of Congress were not subject to punishment for insider trading when it involved nonpublic information about current or upcoming congressional activity. For example, if a lawmaker learned that a grant would be offered under a government contract to a specific company, they were free to buy stock before that company announced it to the public, resulting in large profits.
Before the cellular phone age, in the early 1980s, the federal government made a decision as to who would get the rights to send signals across the public airwaves. This was information that the public did not have access to and that resulted in Warner amassing his fortune.
Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the president of the Government Accountability Institute, wrote a book called, Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison.” His book was released shortly after 60 minutes reported on Congress trading stock based on insider information in 2012. As true today as in 2012, 60 minutes stated:
With the next national election less than a year away, congressman and senators are spending much of their time and energy raising the millions of dollars in campaign funds they need to hold on to a job that pays just 174,00 per year. Few of them are doing it for the salary and all of them will say they are doing it to serve the public. But there are other benefits: power prestige and the opportunity to become a Washington insider with access to information and connections that no one else has and an environment of privilege where rules that govern the rest of the country don’t always apply to them. Most former congressmen and senators manage to leave Washington, if they ever leave Washington, with more money in their pockets then they had when they arrived and the biggest challenge is avoiding temptation.
In 2006, Representatives, Louise Slaughter and Brian Baird, introduced the STOCK Act which would make it illegal for members of Congress to trade stock on non public information and would require Congress to report stock trades every 90 days instead of once a year. The bill went nowhere. When Baird got a Congressional hearing on the Stock Act, no one showed up.
The situation did not improve. “Political Intelligence,” took over. A practice where former Congressmen and Staffers were allowed to roam the halls of Congress gathering nonpublic information and selling it to hedge funds. This would be considered criminal in the free market system, with prison sentences for those partaking, but was used on the Hill as a profit-making industry, bringing in over $100 million a year.
In September of 2008, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, held closed-door meetings with Congressional Leaders telling them that a global financial meltdown would happen within days. The American people were not warned, and suffered the consequences of lost retirements and lifetime savings depleted, while our representatives on the Hill, were all able to protect their millionaire status, due to insider information.
In 2012, as a result of the 60 minutes investigation, and the embarrassment it caused many representatives such as Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, Congress unanimously passed the STOCK Act. President Obama, with quite a bit of fanfare, signed the Act, stating:
“The powerful shouldn’t get to create one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everybody else. If we expect that to apply to our biggest corporations and to our most successful citizens, it certainly applies to our elected officials, especially at a time when there is a deficit of trust between this city and the rest of the country.”
However, in April of 2013, the House and the Senate unanimously voted, and President Obama quietly signed new legislation, to repeal a provision in the STOCK Act that would require 28,000 senior government officials to post all financial information online, available to the public.
The question now remains, are the American people being represented by millionaires on the Hill, who have thrown us under the bus while they continue to make millions on nonpublic insider information. Under the STOCK Act, it is illegal for our representatives and their staff to use insider information, but who is to know without the provision requiring their trading activities be made public? Why do we continue to elect representatives that have made their fortunes while claiming to serve the people, all while padding their bank accounts and assuming they understand the plight of the average American citizen.
As we all discovered, Congress voted not to participate in Obamacare, (Affordable Care Act) like the majority of Americans. Let’s not forget that Mark Warner provided a critical vote on December 23, 2009 to stop further in-depth debate on Obamacare. The bill then proceeded to pass on Christmas Eve with Democrats voting unanimously to pass Obamacare, (Affordable Care Act), without even knowing what was in it. To this day, with their Cadillac Insurance plans intact, subsidized by hardworking taxpayers, only the American citizen is seeing millions of policies cancelled, rates and deductibles going through the roof, and those who cannot afford the insurance, forced to pay ever increasing fines to the Federal Government. Hundreds of thousands of illegals are allowed to partake in Obamacare at our expense while our President looks the other way. We have seen our once full time job market shift to a part time offering, workforce participation has not been this low since the 70’s, all while the government claims unemployment has fallen under 6%. Over 49% of Americans are getting some type of government, taxpayer funded assistance. Our borders have been invaded and millions of tax dollars are spent on lawyers, charter flights, and schooling, for illegals. As a result, we are forced to cover budget deficits within our schools and communities and left wondering why illegal children are allowed in our schools without health certificates or the vaccinations that all American citizens are required to have. President Obama and Democrats see no threats to our country by ISIS or drug cartels crossing into our open borders, and the majority of Democrats including Mark Warner voted against completing the border fence that was promised years ago in exchange for an earlier amnesty. Our President continues to claim that we are better off today then we were 6 years ago, but I have to assume he is talking about our representatives on the hill because their accounts have continued to grow while most Americans have watched their savings dwindle.
It is time for the American people to say enough is enough! We must make our representatives live by the same rule of law that we are forced to obey. We need to send home the representatives who have made a career out of making millions in office while the rest of the country goes down the proverbial drain! Tell them we have had enough…VOTE Mark Warner out!!
Leigh Bravo blogs at The Trumpet. • (950 views)