Revealed: Members of Congress profited from bank stocks as they voted on bailouts

(RAW STORY)   Several members of Congress who oversee the banking industry and bemoaned the industry’s greed actually pocketed cash from investing in or selling the same banks they were rebuking when the market collapsed last year.

At least two members of Congress — an Ohio Democrat and a Florida Republican — invested or cashed out of bank stocks just as the fortunes of those companies fell. Ohio Democrat Charlie Wilson sold between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of Huntington Bancshares stock Nov. 14 — the same day the bank got $1.4 billion in bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“Wilson’s transactions over the course of last autumn also included Bank of America and BB&T, both beneficiaries of the bank rescue program that Treasury implemented after congressional passage,” the Plain Dealer reported Friday.

A Republican congresswoman, meanwhile, bought between $1,001 and $15,000 of Citigroup stock the day before the House passed a major financial rescue bill in October (and then voted against the bill).

Members of Congress are obliged to report only estimates of their wealth in filings on their personal holdings, which are required by law.

Adds the Plain Dealer: “Eleven days later, she bought $1,001 to $15,000 worth of Bank of America stock. It was on the same day that then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told leading banks that he expected them to accept billions in bailout money to prevent a financial meltdown.”

Two more Democrats took heat in Friday’s report.

“A spokesman for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York Democrat also on the Financial Services Committee, said she similarly leaves transactions solely to the discretion of account managers,” the paper said. “McCarthy’s trades included a $2,275 purchase of bailout recipient J.P. Morgan Chase while Congress was still hammering out its rescue bill.”

Finally, “Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California, said on a recent financial disclosure report that she bought up to $15,000 in Citigroup stock on Nov. 7. That was 10 days after the bank got a $25 billion bailout. “

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