Last month, NewsBusters reported 60 Minutes cherry-picking Peter Schweizer's book about Congressional insider trading to make it appear the problem was largely a Republican one.
Schweizer did a phone interview with NewsBusters last week to discuss this matter in greater detail including how with the exception of Fox News, despite this being a bipartisan issue, the media have largely ignored it to protect liberal politicians they revere (video follows with transcript):
NEWSBUSTERS: Peter Schweizer is a conservative author and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. NewsBusters readers should remember him for his 2005 book “Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy” wherein he demonstrated how rich liberals like Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand preach a certain lifestyle to the masses while they completely ignore such dictates in their own lives. Most recently Schweizer has published “Throw Them All Out” wherein he discusses a little known loophole that allows members of Congress to trade on inside information that they receive during hearings and private meetings allowing them to rather easily turn profits through behaviors forbidden to the very citizens they serve. Welcome to NewsBusters, Peter.
PETER SCHWEIZER: Hey, it's great to be on. Thanks for having me.
NEWSBUSTERS: So tell us about this loophole that you discovered.
SCHWEIZER: Well, what happens is that if we work for a company or the federal government, local governments, or we have our own business, and we get inside information related to a corporation, or something that's going to affect the valuation of a stock, and we trade on that information, the SEC says that's insider trading, and if we're caught we're going to go to jail.
If you are a member of Congress, and you have let's say oversight of the Food and Drug Administration, and you find out from a regulator that the FDA is going to approve a new drug that's going to greatly benefit a company, you are free to buy stock in that company, you are free to tell your family to buy stock in that company, or to call up some of your contributors and do the same. The argument that they make is that they have no obligation to keep this information secret so they're entitled to trade on it, and they do very aggressively.
NEWSBUSTERS: Now, just to put this in perspective, I used to be a stockbroker. I used to be an arbitrageur. The insider trading laws for people like you and me and everybody else in America including the President and the people in the judiciary, meaning judges, is that if I know let's say the CEO or the CFO of a company, and he gives me information that, let's say it's a pharmaceutical company, and they're about to get FDA approval on a drug, and I go out and I buy calls or I buy stock in that, I'm violating the law.
NEWSBUSTERS: But if I am a member of Congress, or if I get that information from a member of Congress, I'm not violating the law.
SCHWEIZER: That's right. It's a great double standard, and it's something that really surprises a lot of people how aggressively and actively members of Congress trade stock. To give you an example, in 2009, people watched the ObamaCare debate in Congress and in the Senate. A lot of people don't realize that many of the people that were pushing that bill, sponsoring that bill, helping to write amendments to that bill, guiding it through the legislative bodies were actually aggressively trading stocks at the same time. And, oh by the way, they tended to dump shares that were going to be hurt by the bill, and they tended to buy stock in companies that were going to benefit from it.
To me, it's a little bit like a professional athlete being allowed to bet on a game in which they're playing. I mean, we would never tolerate that. Just the sense of unfairness and the corrupting influence of that would be dramatic. But here you have our nation's laws being written, and again, the players are allowed to in effect bet on the outcome of the legislative process. And I think the stakes are a lot higher than they would be for any sporting event.
NEWSBUSTERS: Just to put this a little bit more in context for our listeners and readers. If you recall, back in the year 2000, Dick Cheney said that if he became vice president, he would divest himself completely from Halliburton. He would sell off all of his Halliburton stock. And this was a very, very big issue at the time. So this was just a vice president who felt that he would have a conflict of interest if he remained somehow tied to Halliburton vis a vis owning its stock. So, my question is where did the legislation come about here and when did it come about that somehow created this loophole for members of Congress to be able to exploit?
SCHWEIZER: Insider trading laws come from the 1930s when they had the Securities Act that set up the SEC, and over the years, the courts have sort of created a case law as to what insider trading means and what it doesn't mean. But there's also I think the added problem that even if a senior person at the SEC were to interpret and say, “No, I think the laws do apply to Congress.” That certainly appears to be the minority view. Even if they were to take that position, I'm highly doubtful they would ever go after a senior member of Congress.
I would have people go back and look in I think it was 2006 when William Jefferson, the Congressman who famously had the $90,000 cash in his freezer, the FBI had heard on a wiretap that he was taking bribes. They got a federal judge to issue a search warrant. They went and searched his Congressional office, and there was outrage. Both parties said this was a huge breach of Congressional authority, that they police themselves, and there were actual threats to cut the budget of the FBI.
So, you can imagine that the SEC would have to think about four dozen times before they would ever even consider going after a member of Congress. It's just not going to happen. So it's a combination of case law, but it's also the political reality that Congress is just enormously powerful. And lots of studies show that depending on who your Congressman is, depending on who you're connected with, that influences the likelihood of being audited by the IRS, of being investigated by the SEC. Power matters and Congress has an enormous amount of power.
NEWSBUSTERS: That's fascinating. So this came out of Depression Era legislation...
NEWSBUSTERS: ...when Roosevelt and the Congress were trying to reduce the impact of Wall Street and banks upon the economy, for lack of a better term. So this probably is somewhere in what's called Rule 144 or Rule 145 which dictates how insiders are allowed to trade on information.
SCHWEIZER: That's right. It deals with, and you probably know better that I do having a background in that field, but there's a particular provision of that Act that talks about manipulation of the market, and it defines manipulation of the market as including use of inside information for gain. Now there's some people who take the position that insider trading laws are kind of silly and we shouldn't have them. I don't share that opinion. But I would argue that even if people do take what you might call that Libertarian view, even the staunchest advocates of that position say that we should still prohibit politicians from doing it.
Henry Manne, who's a professor of law at George Mason University, very prominent in his field, wrote a classic book on insider trading. He says that we have the rules completely and totally backwards. We prohibit corporate executives and individuals from doing it, but we allow government officials to do it. What he said if you're going to get rid of the law, you need to at least prevent politicians from doing it.
NEWSBUSTERS: Well certainly, because in reality, the politicians have more, as James Baker would say, room for mischief...
NEWSBUSTERS: ...where let's assume I'm the CEO of a publicly traded company, and again, it's a pharmaceutical company, and I know the FDA is about to take one of my drugs out of phase III trials and actually approve it for sale, and I go out and buy a whole bunch of calls or a whole bunch of stock. The only people that that's hurt are the people that actually sold me that stock or sold me those calls. It's not having a huge impact upon legislation and the population at large.
SCHWEIZER: That's exactly right. The point that I make is some people will say, “Congressman doing this, what's the big deal? It doesn't really hurt anybody.” Well, it actually does. It hurts the people that they're buying and they're selling from, because they don't have access to that information. But I think it creates perverse incentives.
To just give you one example, during the healthcare debate in 2009, Congressman Jared Polis from Colorado (D), sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, was a big backer of this. He was a big supporter of the law and certain provisions in the law. Well he took huge multimillion dollar bets. He supported ObamaCare legislation saying it was going to increase the effectiveness of the healthcare system. At the same time, in the summer of 2009, he put between seven and $35 million into a company called Bridge International that is a medical tourism company. These are companies that say, “We'll arrange surgery for you in Costa Rica for $10,000.” And he knew exactly what he was doing because the medical tourism industry in the summer of 2009 was saying, “If ObamaCare passes, this is going to be a boon to our industry because surgeries are going to become more scarce, and people are going to want to go overseas to avoid a lot of red tape.”
So, here you had an individual who was supporting a law, and he knew that the economic consequences would not be good for the healthcare system, but he sought to profit off of it by buying a huge chunk in a medical tourism company.
NEWSBUSTERS: Wow. Was that the most egregious offense that you found in your research?
SCHWEIZER: Well, that one sort of stands out. The other thing that he did, in the ObamaCare bill – remember this thing was over 1,000 pages long – there were a couple of lines in there that said that biotechnology companies were going to get a twelve year patent protection on their drugs rather than the five year protection traditional drug makers have. That was of course a huge boon to the biotech industry. And the same Congressman, Polis, bought EFTs, which are sector funds, in biotechnology companies. He bought between one and $5 million, and those went up 25 percent as a result of ObamaCare. So he did very, very well.
On the Republican side, I would look at the current chairman of the House Financial Service Committee, Spencer Bachus (R-Al.), who is an active and aggressive options trader. He has been throughout his Congressional career. Literally during the financial crisis of 2008, he would sit in on private, closed-door meetings with the Fed chairman and the Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson. These meetings were very specific and very technical and very apocalyptic say in mid-September about what was going to be happening in the economy. He would go out the next day and options trade shorting the market. In one case, he bought a highly-leveraged option fund called Proshares Ultra-short QQQ, which literally means for every one point drop he gains two points.
And he's done this for years. When he was on the House Transportation Committee with oversight of the airlines, he was doing massive amounts of options trades on United Airlines. I would put him also in the category of being particularly egregious. The amounts are not nearly as big as Polis's case, but clearly, he has done it a lot and he has supplemented his Congressional salary over the years thanks to this active trading.
NEWSBUSTERS: What's interesting is you see this as I do as being a bipartisan problem. Correct?
SCHWEIZER: Yeah, I think it's a problem of when you give power to people, and you give them lots of money and power they can throw around, politics attracts ambitious people on both sides. They're going to try to figure out a way to cash in. I think it's human nature.
NEWSBUSTERS: Right, but you're a conservative, but you wrote a book, and you found information that represents a bash on both parties. A pox on both of them, correct?
SCHWEIZER: Yes, That's exactly right. I've been called names by both Spencer Bachus and John Kerry. So, I think that's probably a good sign. And my view, I am a political conservative. Anybody who Googles my name will discover that pretty soon. But my view is that increasingly the problem in Washington is that we have less of a debate over political philosophy or liberal versus conservative. It's more politics is becoming a business. It's becoming a growth industry. You can come into Congress and stay a while and if you make the right decisions and government grows and you get more power, you've got more money to hand out and you get access to more market-moving information, you can get rich.
And I think those personal financial incentives are part of the problem and part of the reason why whether Republicans control Congress or Democrats, we don't seem to really be able to scale it back to any large measure. So I think we've got to change those personal financial incentives in some way or we're never going to see government get smaller at all.
NEWSBUSTERS: The thing that was interesting, though, and I'm wondering whether you were surprised by this given how long the Republicans had controlled the White House and Congress, is you actually did find more – not necessarily in a dollar amount – but more Democrat offenders than Republican offenders. What would that ratio be in your book?
SCHWEIZER: That's a good question. I'm not sure on a percentage basis, and I'm not sure if, the methodology that I used to put together the book was to look at government initiatives, laws that people were pushing that were going to move markets like healthcare. That was going to have an effect on all kinds of stocks in different ways. Or in defense budget bills.
So, the fact that there are more Democrats, is it because the Democrats are more corrupt or is it because Democrats tend to introduce more of that legislation that government's going to do all this stuff and it's going to affect the valuation of companies? I don't know.
I would say in the book there are more Democrats that are doing the stock trading we talked about. I think that there were probably more Republicans I pointed to in terms of these land deals with the earmarks. But I would say it was probably 60-40, 65-35, something like that. But for me, it's not about ideology. It's ultimately about political power.
NEWSBUSTERS: Right. But yet getting to how the media have covered this, they certainly in my view as a media analyst, there has been a little bit of a bias in how this has been covered. So for example, CBS does 60 Minutes. They're really the ones that kind of broke this story for you. How did that come about? How did they find out about your book and how did you get hooked up with 60 Minutes?
SCHWEIZER: Well, the publisher, Houghton Mifflin, was very excited about the manuscript and intrigued. So they sent it over to a contact at 60 Minutes, and 60 Minutes immediately saw that this was something that was very intriguing, was very interesting. And so there was a deal struck, contract signed, between the publisher and 60 Minutes.
To tell you the truth, I haven't seen the contract, but basically what it said was that they would mention the book, highlight the research, and have some focus on me, but that 60 Minutes obviously would have complete editorial control, and that they would need to go through the steps that I did and confirm my research. And so I had no input. I actually did not see the 60 Minutes piece until it aired on that Sunday night. So, this was about providing them with information and providing them with research that obviously was very helpful in promoting the book, but sort of became the launching point for them in the story that aired on Sunday.
NEWSBUSTERS: What was interesting to me immediately when I saw the 60 Minutes piece was that they focus on four Republicans and only mention one Democrat. So 80 percent were Republican. The one Democrat of course was former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But by doing an 80-20, by doing a 4 to 1, they kind of gave the impression that this was more of a Republican problem than a Democrat problem or even it being a bipartisan problem. Do you have any feel as to why that was?
SCHWEIZER: Well, I can only speculate. I worked with the producers and with Steve Kroft. They looked at the research and picked the stories they wanted to run and they thought were most intriguing. I've heard people on the Left criticize the report in the sense that they said, “Look, the segment on Pelosi was a devastating portrait, just in terms of her reaction, how Steve Kroft confronted her response, and that the four Republicans that they analyzed, two of them are no longer in office, and that the Boehner one was kind of a minor thing." For me, my experience with them, they played everything straight, they knew that I was a political conservative.
I will say that I know for a fact that Nancy Pelosi's office very, very, very aggressively went after them saying, “You can't work with this right-wing hack,” and “How can you be legitimizing what he's doing?” They stood solid and firm and stuck with the Pelosi story, which to me, of all of them was probably the most damning because it's hard to detect, and in Pelosi's case, they pointed out in the story, she's participated in at least eight IPOs of stock that have enriched her and her husband over the years.
NEWSBUSTERS: It's interesting you talk about how you were attacked as a right-wing hack. You had the Huffington Post come after you. You had, I believe, Think Progress came after you, other entities on the left. Do you feel that you actually got more negative press from the liberal side of the media or from the conservative side?
SCHWEIZER: That's a great point. The liberal media on this, I was actually stunned at the reaction, and what I quickly discovered whether it was an early story in Politico or Media Matters or these other groups is literally they were just parroting the Pelosi line. The Pelosi line was that this was a right-wing smear job on her, and the fact is I would challenge anybody to look at the book, look at the information on her. She hasn't challenged any of the facts. She doesn't deny that they got access to these IPO shares. She doesn't deny that they participated in numerous ones over the years. She doesn't deny the other research in it.
I actually found it very stunning that liberal groups like Media Matters and Think Progress, which claim to be watchdogs of the influence of money and corporations in Washington, suddenly were now defending this practice which really challenged their credibility. Because what's so interesting about this story is that you sort of get an odd coalition in a way of conservatives who recognize and are concerned about crony capitalism and big government. But you also get outfits like Ralph Nader and others who have been very concerned about conflict of interest in stock trades for Congressman who also want to do something about this. So I just found it surprising that they immediately parroted the lines of Pelosi, and they had obviously not even read the book, which was another thing that was quite stunning to me, too – just sort of condemn and attack an author taking the word of a powerful Congressional figure, and having not even read the book. Was pretty stunning to me.
NEWSBUSTERS: Let's take this a step further. What even magnifies the hypocrisy here of the Left's reaction to the 60 Minutes piece and your book is that we now have a movement that started about two months ago called Occupy Wall Street which they have all fallen madly in love with, and the whole view of these folks, if there is a coherent view, and I'm not really sure that there is, but the view here is that there's too much influence that Wall Street has on Washington and on Capitol Hill, and as a result, the poor and the middle class are being negatively impacted by this. This is what organizations like the Huffington Post and like you said Media Matters and Think Progress, which is part of the Center for American Progress, this is a big part of their focus. Yet when it's exposed specifically how Washington insiders, how legislators are in bed with Wall Street and are using information that they're getting during meetings to trade, all of a sudden we've got far-left outlets that are defending that.
SCHWEIZER: Yes. It's remarkable. I mean, Huffington Post, for example, ran a piece when the book first came out poo-pooing it, saying this is not really a big deal. And clearly they were just doing the bidding for Nancy Pelosi. But it put them in the odd position, the first time I've seen it, where they actually actively defended Spencer Bachus, conservative Republican from Alabama who was doing this options trading. They actually defended and said, “This is not really a big deal.”
To me, it was an ideological decision to back Pelosi, but I think there's also something else that really is going on here that's pretty insidious. It deals with some of the news outlets, and it also deals with these organizations. If you are in Washington, D.C., and you attack the entire system, as we're doing here in a fundamental way – the system of crony capitalism that's the lifeblood that is enriching so many people in both parties - it's a little bit like if you're a local reporter covering the baseball team and you say, “The players all stink and the management's a bunch of drunks.” If you do that, you're not going to get invited in the locker room anymore. You're not going to get to interview the superstar when they make the all-star team.
The point is that they want access. Huffington Post literally defended Pelosi's conduct, insider trading in the market, and then I think a couple of days later had a social tea with her where she sat down with reporters and did things. So, news outlets like Huffington Post to me indicate that they are far less interested in hard news and more interested in access and being part of the establishment rather than taking on the establishment.
NEWSBUSTERS: Let's put an even finer point on it. I did a LexisNexis this morning before you and I spoke. It appears that the New York Times has yet to report on this. (Please see note at end of article after the interview transcript.)
NEWSBUSTERS: And correct me if I'm wrong. The Washington Post has said nothing. USA Today has said nothing. The Los Angeles Times has said nothing. On television, with the exception of Dylan Ratigan, MSNBC in prime time hasn't said a word about this.
NEWSBUSTERS: Nor has ABC, nor has NBC.
NEWSBUSTERS: For its part, CNN has done one story on this. It's now, what, two and a half weeks old?
NEWSBUSTERS: CNN has done one story. Now by contrast, even though you say and I agree and all those that have read the book and are familiar with this that it's a bipartisan problem, by contrast Fox News has done twelve stories on this.
SCHWEIZER: Yes they have.
NEWSBUSTERS: What does this tell you?
SCHWEIZER: And honestly, they have not been ideological about it. We've talked about Pelosi, we've talked about Spencer Bachus. I was on this morning on Fox News. We were talking about Barney Frank's legacy, and I said he made some mistakes for Fannie and Freddie Mac, but they asked me about the issue of insider trading, and I said, “Look, he is one of the guys who has not enriched himself. He doesn't trade stocks. We need to applaud him for that.” And they understood that. So, no, they have been very bipartisan in the stories that I have done with Fox News.
The rest of the media is not interested in this story, and I can tell you if you are a host on prime time, on MSNBC, and you want a bunch of Congressman and Senators coming and sitting down with you and giving you cloak room gossip on your show, if you do a story on this and you name names, those people are not going to come on your show. And that is the reality of what is going on. I have had contact with reporters from the Washington Post and other news outlets who have been very good on this story before, who continue to be very good on this story, but those stories are not running.
And it's pretty remarkable because what has happened is since the 60 Minutes and the book has come out, you have now for the first time the U.S. Senate is holding hearings on Congressional insider trading on December 1, and the House is holding them on December 6 on the same subject. You have something called The Stock Act which before the book came out had six co-sponsors now has 60 co-sponsors, and it's being introduced in the Senate and you're getting very little if any reporting on this by anybody in the mainstream media. It's just truly stunning to me.
NEWSBUSTERS: It's truly stunning because here we have Fox News, which is lambasted by virtually all of the media out there as being the real biased outlet. They're the ones that have done, including with what you just said now, that's at least thirteen stories that they've done on a bipartisan problem that points fingers at Democrats and Republicans alike. Yet CNN has done one story, the New York Times completely ignores it, MSBNC for the most part completely ignores, and yet Fox is supposedly the biased news network.
SCHWEIZER: Yeah, it's remarkable to me, and I think it shows and explains. People will ask me on the phone, “How is it this has not been reported before? Where is the watchdog press?" Now, there are some good reporters that I have talked to that have run stories not directly on this but on this whole issue of stock trading by members of Congress, and they do a good job. But this story has largely gone unreported, and I am convinced it's because we have too many reporters who are interested in being invited to the right parties, getting the nice leak from senior officials, the sit-down, profile stories from a powerful politician, and they're frankly happy to be lapdogs rather that watchdogs.
I just think we cannot have faith in the Washington press corps anymore because I live in Tallahassee, Florida. I am a fellow at the Hoover Institution out in Stanford University. I am not a fixture of Washington, D.C. I go up there maybe six times a year. I'm the guy that has to find this and report this. That's just stunning to me.
NEWSBUSTERS: No, it really is. But I guess the good news here is suddenly this bill has 60 co-sponsors. Do you think it's going to move forward? Do you think it has a chance of passing?
SCHWEIZER: I think the hearings are being set up to be a whitewash. The hearings on December 1 on the Senate side, if you look at the people who have been invited to testify. I believe there are four of them. Only one believes that this is a problem and that we need to have this law changed. He's a professor of law from Columbia University.
The rest of them basically think that we don't need to change the laws, and this is fine. To which I would say, “If the laws are fine, name one member of Congress that's even been investigated for insider trading.” Of course, they can't name one because it hasn't happened – something related to Congressional duties.
In the House side, you have this bizarre situation where these hearings on Congressional insider trading are being chaired by the very Spencer Bachus who I highlight in the book as an active aggressive options trader. And he's already said, “This is not a problem. It's already against the law, so nothing needs to be done.”
So I think we've gotten to this point because of outside pressure. The division of response has been people outside of Washington, whatever their political stripe, are outraged by this. People inside the beltway by and large ignore the story. I think as long was we stay energized and committed and focused, and tell people we're going to have a zero tolerance policy for this, whatever their politics are, that's going to be our best hope for trying to change this system. It's going to be up to us to change it. They're not going to change it themselves. They are doing very well financially as the rest of us struggle, and they're not doing it because they legitimately in the free market are making better choices. They're doing it because of crony capitalism.
NEWSBUSTERS: Okay, but let's assume that something were to change where we actually had an honest media, and CNN was doing stories on this, and the New York Times was doing stories and writing editorials, and the Washington Post and MSNBC and others, and the Associated Press was reporting it. Let's assume that the media were actually acting as watchdogs, and even on the liberal side, the Think Progresses. Do you think that that would force Washington to look at this more seriously?
SCHWEIZER: Yes I do. Absolutely. Because at the end of the day, these people want to keep their jobs. This is probably the best job they're ever going to have. After this it's cashing in as a lobbyist or doing something else. So they want to keep their jobs. The reason they're going through this song and dance right now is because they're clearly feeling the pressure, not because they think it's an issue.
I really honestly think a huge part of the problem has been the media's failure to haven't even dealt with this in the past. I think it's just a further indication that there is so much going on that is of substantive importance in the future of our country, how government is handled, that the media just simply chooses not to report. Not that they don't know about it, but that they just choose not to report because it's not good as far as their business model is concerned.
NEWSBUSTERS: Well, then basically what we're saying here, Peter, is that if the media were actually doing their job, then Congress would be forced to rectify this situation, close this loophole, and therefore could we go so far as to say that these media outlets that are ignoring this story are actually aiding and abetting the problem?
SCHWEIZER: I think so, yes. They have a responsibility. It would be as if, to take an example from the past, you had Watergate, and the Washington Post and other news outlets that eventually followed the Post said, “You know, this is just not a big deal. We don't think it's germane.” Look at the effect that would have had on American history and on governance and the sort of things that happened during that situation. It's the same thing here. So absolutely.
I think the first thing that needs to be done is to look at this question of why has it taken this guy living in Tallahassee, Florida, who got eight students together as researchers to comb through public records to find this and expose this? That just is stunning to me.
NEWSBUSTERS: Do you have any doubt in your mind that if this was either largely or exclusively a Republican scandal, the media would have been all over this like nothing we've seen in quite some time?
SCHWEIZER: Well, I would say it this way, I would agree with you in this way: if this were about senior White House officials in the George W. Bush administration insider trading on the stock market, you could bet that there would be media coverage on it. I would also say, I've got a chapter in the book on the whole green energy, Solyndra-type loan program, if it was the Bush administration giving sweetheart deals, loan guarantees, tax-free grants to members of the oil industry who were massive campaign contributors and members of George W. Bush's campaign finance committee, you could bet that the mainstream media would be aggressively covering that, too.
NEWSBUSTERS: I agree with you. Any final thoughts you have for our readers and listeners that you haven't shared with anybody or with us yet?
SCHWEIZER: No, I just think it's going to be up to us to bring about these changes, and I would encourage people to let their elected officials know that they're going to have a zero tolerance policy on this, and they're going to be watching. And I would encourage people, you can investigate your own elected officials and take time, but it's not that tough. You can go to OpenSecrets.org. It's not a website I run. You can look at the PDF files that have the personal financial disclosures of your member of Congress, and see what committee they sit on, and see if they were trading bank stocks while they were on the bank committee considering some bank reform, and then see if they did real good in the deal.
We need to police them ourselves. The media in Washington's not going to do it.
NEWSBUSTERS: Great. Well, Peter, thank you for joining us today. Please, let's touch base again in a few months, see what kind of progress you're making.
SCHWEIZER: We will. Thanks so much for having me.
NEWSBUSTERS: Oh, thanks Peter.
Readers are advised that after this interview was conducted, the New York Times published an editorial on December 3 advocating passage of a bill banning Congressional insider trading.