The man, who held a position of power in a rather large establishment, was out drinking with a buddy at a local watering hole. After finishing the fourth round of a top-shelf label, he leaned over and whispered- “I’ve got something for you. You will see some changes in this particular sector over the coming weeks. You can’t say I told you, but here are copies of what I have seen coming across my desk.” Sitting back, his acquaintance quickly scanned the material and then put it into his briefcase. “This is good stuff, here,” he said, “Thanks. Want another round?” as he called the waitress over.
Now, if you are wondering what you just went down, it is called insider trading. Except, when it’s not. This was an exchange between a guy working as a “political intelligence lobbyist” and a staffer on Capitol Hill. The Intercept notes that —“Wall Street investors and hedge funds routinely hire specialized “political intelligence” lobbyists in Washington to get insider knowledge of major government decisions so that they may make trades using the information. But little is known about the mechanics of political intelligence lobbying, which falls outside the scope of traditional lobbying law, and therefore does not show up in mandatory lobbying disclosure reports.”
One of the offshoots of the 2012 presidential campaigns in America was the talk of class warfare and how the 1%ers were becoming richer, while everyone else was becoming poorer and one of the ways of doing this was via the stock market, then at all time highs. So, as Firstlook notes — “…in 2012, members of Congress patted themselves on the back for passing the STOCK Act, a bill meant to curb insider trading for lawmakers and their staff. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, upon passage of the law said — “We all know that Washington is broken and today members of both parties took a big step forward to fix it”. And fix it Congress did, except not as in, “I have a problem and the doctor can fix it”, but more as in, the witch in the Wizard of OZ as she tells Dorothy — “I’ll fix you and your little dog too” as she rides off on her bicycle cackling.
See, the sharing confidential information between government staffers and those that stand to benefit from it isn’t illegal. In fact, it seems to be a common everyday event. The Freebeacon reports that —“A SEC investigation focused on how Brian Sutter, then a staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee, allegedly passed along information about an upcoming Medicare decision to a lobbyist, who then shared the tip with other firms. Leading hedge funds used the insider tip to trade on health insurance stocks that were affected by the soon-to-be announced Medicare decision.”
Upon learning of the SEC investigation, it was reported that Kerry W. Kircher, House General Counsel, simply stated — “the SEC had no business issuing a subpoena to Sutter. “Communications with lobbyists, of course, are a normal and routine part of Committee information-gathering,” the brief continued, arguing that there “is no room for the SEC to inquire into the Committee’s or Mr. Sutter’s purpose or motives.” So, there you have. Essentially, the high powered lawyer told the SEC to go stuff it. And it isn’t just a no-name staffer that has profited from the system either.
In another article, the Freebeacon reports that the top Democrat in the House of Representatives aka Nancy Pelosi, steered more than a billion dollars in subsidies to a light rail project that benefitted a company run by a high-dollar Democratic donor and in which her husband is a major investor. And the list goes on.
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader, has been accused of numerous crimes as well. In fact, Judicial Watch noted that — “As far back as 2006 Reid was in hot water for violating Senate rules by concealing a seven-figure payoff on a suspicious land deal orchestrated by a longtime friend known for political bribery and mob ties. The influential senator secretly collected a $1.1 million profit on land he hadn’t personally owned for years. To hide the deal, Reid transferred ownership, legal liability and tax consequences to a company owned by a former casino lawyer who has been investigated by federal authorities.” And this is only one instance. In fact, Judicial Watch says that Harry Reid is basically being run out of office due to the long string of corruption cases against him.
Taking a step back and looking at the big picture, many people across America and the world are starting to realize that Washington DC is rotten to the core. Scandal, bribery, corruption, coercion, lies and more are the common currency of the Capitol. And now, politicians, instead of cleaning up the mess inside the Beltway, are now using the long arm of the law halfway around the world to “battle corruption” inside football, or soccer as it in known in the US.
Let’s not forget that as of today, none of the bankers involved in the 2008 financial meltdown have been put in jail. It was only a week ago that five of the largest banks agreed to pay collective fines of some $5 bn. But not one banker was put in jail. The paperwork is all there. What is the problem? And let’s not forget that as a result of the financial crisis, the social fabric in America is being torn apart. It has suddenly become common occurrence to look at the headlines and see yet another battle with riot police or another city going up in flames. And while we are on this subject, let’s also remember the numerous scandals over the past years. Gunrunning in Mexico, Benghazi, the CIA spying on politicians, the NSA spying on everyone, the IRS going after specific groups, IRS emails disappearing and more. In fact, wiki lists 53 different scandals, which most people probably have forgotten about. But no, corruption half-way around the world in a sport that most Americans don’t care about is a more pressing issue for Loretta Lynch, the new Attorney General of the United States. But the story becomes even more shocking.
The New York Times was tipped off the event and live tweeted it. The list of people that were arrested was long and there were a few Americans that were on it. However, the great majority of the people were from South America. The Justice Department released a note stating — “Individual defendants will face “maximum terms of incarceration of 20 years” for charges related to racketeering and corruption, wire fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice”.
So, just imagine that for a moment. These people, who were not in America, and are not American citizens, are now going to be extradited to America, to face an American court and possibly to go to an American jail. And while many are applauding the Justice Department’s move to clean up FIFA, which has long been accused of numerous misdeeds, how can it be argued that it is America’s duty to take up this cause? How is it even legally possible? Putting that another way, why should American taxpayers foot the bill? Is America suddenly going to be investigating all crimes everywhere around the world? Are things so perfect in the homeland that FBI and DOJ agents have nothing better to do? And why are the Swiss and Europeans seemingly so willing to allow this to happen?
As a parting note, pundits are wondering whether the fund associated with Bill and Hillary Clinton, which, by the way, came under fire this very week for another scandal involving a mysterious pass through company that was conveniently not disclosed and could have been used to launder or at least hide money trails, will return the money that FIFA donated to the Clinton Global Initiative. And if they don’t return the money, will they at least rescind the membership?
So, what do you think dear listeners, “Who gave America the role of world policeman?”