Let’s see how this one plays out: Martha Stewart made a paltry sum from the sale of stock on what appeared to be insider information, and she went to prison — albeit not Riker’s Island or anything. The SEC made it clear in that case that there was no trade too small to incur their wrath. So, let’s see what double standard they fall back on in this case:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is facing questions from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission about his sale of stock in his family’s hospital company one month before its price fell sharply.
The Tennessee lawmaker, who is the Senate’s top Republican and a likely candidate for president in 2008, ordered his portfolio managers in June to sell his family’s shares in HCA Inc., the nation’s largest hospital chain, which was founded by Frist’s father and brother.
A month later, the stock’s price dropped 9 percent in a single day because of a warning from the company about weakening earnings. Stockholders are not permitted to trade stock based on inside information; whether Frist possessed any appears to be at the heart of the probes.
Perhaps, using the same powers he used in the Terri Schiavo case, he magically diagnosed the future stock position without examining it.
Update: love this quote in tomorrow’s Post:
“Democrats will try to make a lot out of this and pounce on whatever they can,” said Nicholas E. Calio, a former aide to both Presidents Bush. “To me, it’s inconceivable that he [Frist] would sell stock based on inside information. He doesn’t need the money.”
First off, Martha didn’t need the money, either. Second, all the of machinations of the Republican Congress are based on giving more money to people who don’t need it.