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Did Senate Show Character in Passing the Stock Act? Can We Do the Same for ARS?

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 2, 2012 11:03 PM |

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.  ~Confucius

Did the United States Senate do the right thing today and show real character in passing the Stock Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act…aka, Stop Insider Trading in Congress!!)?

Let’s come back to that question.

The simple fact is the Stock Act was first introduced SIX YEARS ago. How is it that this piece of legislation languished for so long and now passes the Senate by a vote of 96-3? 

Very simply, this piece of legislation received tremendous attention on Capitol Hill ONLY as a result of an expose on CBS’ 60 Minutes. That expose created a groundswell of support and forced Congress to act ONLY because everybody on Capitol Hill and in the country was focused on it because of the show.

Going back to our initial question. Did the Senate show real character in passing the Stock Act? Of course NOT.

Character is what people are when no one is watching!!

What the passage of this Stock Act confirms is just how accurate Confucius was as highlighted above. We certainly do have a whole host of cowards atop Capitol Hill. 

If in fact we need dramatic public exposure of issues in order to get Congress and/or regulators to move, then I ask readers what other issues would they like to see addressed?

Please do not be bashful. Do not discount the power of the internet and topics going viral.

May I throw out a suggestion.

How many people in our audience would hope that there is a full blown expose of the auction-rate securities scam? Think if a documentary of that sort were to be broadcast that it may go viral and truly pressure regulators and in turn those institutions which have not yet made investors whole in their cash-surrogate ARS? You think?

How many people in our audience would like to see a show like that? Shall we see if we can make cowards of them once again?

Larry Doyle

Isn’t it time to subscribe to all my work via e-mailRSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook?

Do your friends, family, and colleagues a favor and get them to do the same. Thanks!!

I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets, our economy, and our political realm so that meaningful investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Bob D.


    Thought I’d bring you up to speed on Oppenheimer.

    When this began, the forced N.Y. redemption checks took a few days to arrive after we mailed back our “buyback forms.” Then that dragged out to a couple of weeks. Now, it’s over three weeks, and Opco responded to my inquiry with an email stipulating that instead of the N.Y. office as in the past, now the checks are coming from the various branch offices. And they’re taking over a month to arrive.

    This, after the “six month review” already dragged out to nearly nine months, this just adds four weeks to already belated every-six- month redemptions. .

    While this may not seem a big deal, it’s just another example of bullying and harassment by Opco and the NY regulators who have sort of sweetheart arrangement with Oppenheimer executives.

  • Dave

    There’s not much chance of Congress taking on ARS. Does anyone remember the joke of a congressional hearing 3 years ago? It’s surreal to think it’s been three years, and nothing else has happened. Members of Congress only care what their constituents tell them to care about (and lobbyists) and since many ARS ppl have been bailed out, and many others are passively silent…

    Those with 7 figures still stuck in Oppenheimer and Ray James better hope they win arbitration or, that the issuers redeem. But with Bernanke not raising interest rates for 3 years, what incentive is there to refinance?

    I don’t think enough is made of the fact that Bernanke has been a huge thorn in the ARS crisis. The issuers would redeem if they thought interest rates would rise. By telegrahing they won’t, Bernanke is a bigger enemy in the ARS crisis than Al Lowenthal, Bill Gross or Harry Newton.

    • LD


      You just addressed my point. Would Congress ever have taken on the Stock Act if not for the 60 Minutes episode? No, never.

      My commentary addresses how do we get a show of some sort produced which highlights the egregious nature of the transgressions that have occurred within the ARS market, especially given that there are $100 BILLION ARS outstanding!!

  • Bill

    The only reason Congress would seriously take up ARS is if it became a hot topic, like congressional insider trading. ARS will not become a hot topic because the financial media has deep sixe it due to the influence of the purveyors of the stuff, which are their advertisers. So far as the congressional insider trading bill, my understanding is that it is quite narrow, covering only information associated with pending legislation and not such as regulatory matters and other subject matter. In other words, it is largely eyewash to appease the public. Lenin said democratic elections present the periodic opportunity for the masses to select those who will oppress them.

  • David

    I haven’t paid huge attention to the Occupiers, but I have paid some, and my son is one. This seems to be the general theme they are most interested in. They seem to be mostly very young, inexperienced, but idealistic people who are smart enough to be petrified that we (the Boomers and our predecessors) have screwed them to the wall and their kids. They generally advocate a horizontal democracy where we all get a say in what happens. If we can get them to participate in the political environment in that way, that is, get them take issues congressional insider trading and the ARS debacle to the Twitter and Facebook world, where they seem to live, they, by themselves, can create enough political pressure to get our esteemed and courageous Members of Congress to get off dead center.

    • LD


      Thanks for writing. Please share my blog with your son as the theme I address within this commentary resonates across a whole host of my work. Truth, transparency, integrity are the values which Sense on Cents embraces and promotes.

      Who would dare say that those values are not worthy of real pursuit BUT how many actually choose to pursue and practice them?

      • David

        Hi, Larry,
        Thanks. I have shared your blog with him a time or two, and I will again.

  • Dan

    Hi Larry,

    This is David’s son, Dan. I’m somewhat familiar with your work and I do follow your blog from time to time. In fact, the Stock Act was the first thing to really catch my eye, and I took the issue to my general assembly. From there, my fellow occupiers made the calls and I hope we helped, even in a small way. Re: “truth, transparency, and integrity,” well, talking like that…you might find quite a bit of sympathy in the occupy/anon movements. And I’ll take a closer look at ARS than I have in the past. Thanks.

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