Lawmaker’s stock trades draw ethics investigation

Published: Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 5:30 a.m.CDT

WASHINGTON – A new ethics investigation of the House Financial Services Committee chairman’s investment activities during the events leading up to and surrounding Congress’ $700 billion bailout of Wall Street sets back lawmakers’ election-year efforts to rebound from their record low standing with the public.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., confirmed Friday he is being investigated by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Just a day earlier, the House passed a bill explicitly prohibiting lawmakers from engaging in insider trading on nonpublic information they learned as officeholders.

Bachus has been the financial services panel’s chairman since January 2011 when Republicans retook control of the House. Before that, as the committee’s senior GOP member, he participated in closed-door briefings in September 2008 by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warning that Wall Street and the economy were in danger of a complete meltdown.

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