Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NOT So Fast on the Paul Ryan Insider Trading Story...

We pointed out this story from a few days ago thanks to the Richmonder. Our good friend Kevin was on us immediately that this story was proven false, he even wrote me a specil post telliang me so. Although he claimed I did not retract, when in reality I offered the possibility that it could not be true, even changing the title of the post. But reality and the Wisconsin right wing have never gotten along. After reading some of the places that supposedly "debunked" this story, i started to have my doubts.

As Shakespeare famously said, "Methinks thou dost protest too much"!

Well it turns out we need to keep looking at this story and some people have. It appears that the denials from the Mitt campaign just are not adding up(emphasis mine):.

First of all, the Romney campaign’s claim that the transactions were index trades is not consistent with what’s in the original disclosure reports. AlterNet discussed the controversy with money and politics expert Thomas Ferguson, who has written extensively on the bailout. He explained, “Ryan did own some index-based securities, but they stand out in the summaries. They are different from the many trades Ryan was making in individual stocks. It is perfectly obvious that he sold shares in Wachovia, Citigroup and J. P. Morgan on September 18 and he bought shares in Paulson’s old firm, Goldman Sachs, on the same day. If these were index trades, what’s on the form is nonsense.

While it’s not possible to pinpoint exactly what Ryan knew and when he knew it, the whole episode becomes more disturbing the deeper you look into it.

Citing accounts from congressional circles, Ferguson explains that Paulson had been told by the White House not to discuss the darkening situation with Congress. But sometime between 2:30 and 3pm on September 18, Paulson finally spoke with then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. He told her that a very bad situation had developed, and that it could involve something much worse than the failure of a giant bank, possibly even a broad collapse of the whole economy. Pelosi immediately demanded that Paulson come over and brief congressional leaders. He agreed. Ferguson reports that his sources say the meeting did indeed begin after markets closed. But he also notes that word of the meeting circulated to the leaders well before markets closed at 4pm.

Since Ryan is a Republican, he may well have gotten word from the White House about the gravity of the situation even earlier. If you knew that Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke were coming to brief you as stock markets fell around the world, that’s really all you needed to know to do the trades in Ryan’s portfolio.
If you swallow the idea that Ryan just happened to buy Goldman stock that day -- a day he just happened to have a meeting with Hank Paulson, the firm’s former CEO, well, then I have some unicorns I’d like to introduce you to.

Ferguson scoffs at the notion: “There’s a lot we don’t know about the famous waiver that Paulson is said eventually to have gotten to talk to his old firm. When I asked about it under a Freedom of Information request, virtually everything I got back was blacked out. But I’ll tell you this. It was not exactly an Einsteinian inspiration to guess that Paulson’s old firm might be a good bet if things were so bad that Hank Paulson was coming to the Hill.”

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But if you’re a member of Congress, the odds are curiously in your favor. As I reported on AlterNet several months ago, in-depth research undertaken in 2004 considered to be the baseline work in the field revealed that from 1993-1998, US senators were beating the market by 12 percentage points a year on average. Corporate insiders only beat the market by a measly 5 percent. Typical households, in contrast, underperformed by 1.4 percent.

And as to the Romney campaign’s claim that Ryan was not legally in control of his investments, let’s just say that this idea gives the notion of the “Invisible Hand” new meaning.

What’s most disturbing is the notion of a man like Paul Ryan focusing so heavily on his portfolio while his country was in peril. Ryan’s surely a guy who would answer the phone at 3am – provided it's his stockbroker calling.

Speaking of our friends on the right, Wiggy thinks the left is scared of Pink Slip Paulie.   When in reality (again the disconnect from reality to right wing) is that if Pauls first thought during a financial crisis that threatened the country is I better sell my bad stock, what will he do if (God forbid) he is vice president???


  1. The PBS Frontline program is now running a four part expose (parts 1-2 last night) on this whole financial meltdown process, it is excellent at portraying the economic policies which led to this disaster.
    What it doesn't do is relate the whole historical evolution of it to the rise of what came to be known as "Tea Party" people, and why those libertarians have obstructed reforms to what caused the whole system to melt down in the first place.
    Tea Partier libertarian Paul Ryan has gotten TWO bills sponsored and legislated throughout his whole Congressional career.
    His place on the budgeting committee has steadily gone up to what his position is now.
    By comparing his political activity historically and relating it to the timing of events shown on the Frontline series, it will give a great picture of just what a bad influence these Tea Party types have had on us, the underemployed masses.

  2. on episode 2 of that series, look at about the last 15 minutes where they talk about the 'meeting" that john mccain called when he surprisingly suspended his campaign to go back to DC and fix the problem. It is amazing.

    It talks about how Candidate Obama controlled the room and ran the meeting with authority and when he called on john mccain to speak all he did was pee his pants. He was tremendously outmatched. They also talk about how Geedubya started the meeting then realized he was out of his league also so he left. A sitting president walking out of a meeting as important as this is amazing to me still.

    A couple other good bits of trivia from that. George whispered to Nancy Pelosi, that she was going to miss him when he was gone and she busted out laughing!

    Also at the end of the meeting even the republicans were saying "we know who we are going to vote for:"....

  3. Thanks Jeff. I don't this will get legs, because both parties engaged in what was obviously unethical behavior. I appreciate you staying on it.

    Ryan was an architect of repealing Glass-Steagall, ("job killing government regulations") exactly what led to the 2008 banking collapse.

  4. This blog has shifted its focus from Scott Walker to Paul Ryan. I smell fear...