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I-Team: Congressional Trading

Updated: Saturday, August 3, 2013 |
I-Team: Congressional Trading story image
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Insider trading it's not, but many members of Congress profit from stock trades where their influence reigns supreme.

The Washington Post found that 130 lawmakers or their families have traded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock in companies that lobbied bills that came before lawmakers' committees.

While the Post found no evidence to suggest insider trading, it's nonetheless beyond the fox guarding the hen house.

"They are in essence making their own personal gain based on a legislative advantage they've given themselves," said Sue Whichmann of Common Cause Maryland.

Whichmann spoke late last year before Congress half-heartedly passed the Stock Act, which banned lawmakers from using insider information, but failed to address a loophole that permits lawmakers from investing in companies for which they carry influence.

Months after the hearings were held in 2011, the Post found that one out of every eight congressional stock trades--5,531 in all--processed between 2007 and 2010 came in the crosshairs of legislation.

The post found that Tom Coburn (R-Okla) bought $25,000 in bonds from a genetic technology company at about the time he released a hold on legislation that impacted the company.

Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) sold as much as $100,000 worth of stock in GE right before a Republican filibuster killed legislation that the company sought.

In all, lawmakers bought and sold as much as $218 million worth of stock from 323 companies registered to lobby legislation before them.
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Business News

Last Update on August 01, 2014 07:28 GMT

WORLD MARKETS

HONG KONG (AP) -- Most Asian stock markets dipped on Friday following a big sell-off on Wall Street but losses were limited by optimistic reports on China's economy.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and South Korea's Kospi saw slight declines. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 tumbled. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite edged up.

ECONOMY- THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Investors are hoping for some positive news to halt the downward slide in the financial markets.

The Labor Department will issue the July jobs report today. In June, the economy added 288,000 jobs.

The Commerce Department will release personal income and spending figures for June. In May, consumers boosted their spending modestly after no gain in April.

Also, the University of Michigan will issue its index of consumer sentiment for July. For June, the index showed that strong job growth lifted overall sentiment.

The Commerce Department will report on June's construction spending today. For May, the figure barely rose as increased spending on non-residential projects such as office buildings and public construction was largely offset by a drop in home building

Also today, the Institute for Supply Management will release its manufacturing index for July.

On the corporate side, automakers will report July's vehicle sales numbers. And Procter & Gamble will report quarterly financial results before the market opens. Berkshire Hathaway will report earnings after the closing bell.

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

HONG KONG (AP) -- An official report says Chinese manufacturing rose to the highest level in more than two years in July.

Friday's survey is the latest sign that the world's No. 2 economy is perking up after a series of mini-stimulus measures unleashed by authorities.

The purchasing managers' index compiled by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing rose to 51.7 last month from June's 51.0.

The index is based on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate contraction.

It's the index's highest reading since April 2012 and follows an early version of a similar measure of factory activity by HSBC that rose to 52.

Communist leaders in Beijing have used small-scale stimulus in recent months to keep China's economy on track to meet its 7.5 percent full year growth target.

CONGRESS-HIGHWAYS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress has approved a bill to prevent a 28 percent cut in federal highway and mass transit aid at the height of the summer construction season.

The Senate voted Thursday night for a House-passed measure to augment the federal Highway Trust Fund with in infusion of $10.8 billion from the general Treasury -- enough to keep the fund solvent through May. The Transportation Department set Friday as the date the fund would no longer be able to provide all the aid promised from incoming gasoline and diesel fuel taxes.

The two houses played legislative ping pong with the issue in recent days over what critics called a "gimmick" to fund the measure by letting companies defer government-required contributions to their employees' pension plans. The bill now goes to the president.

WTC CONTRACTOR-ARREST

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Canadian owner of a company that won nearly $1 billion in contracts to provide steel for the construction of the World Trade Center's tallest building and an adjacent transit center has been arrested on fraud charges.

Larry Davis was released on $100,000 bail Thursday. His lawyer said he will fight charges of wire fraud and conspiring in a scheme to cheat a program that provided contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses.

Court papers say Davis from 2009 through 2012 caused false payroll records to be sent to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The government says a Davis-owned company was awarded a $256 million contract to work on the trade center building and $330 million to help construct the transportation center.

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