Honest Graft is the act of using legal, though unethical and immoral means to gain money and power through the use of insider knowledge. In today’s usage, it refers directly to the congress of the United States of America, both the House of Representatives and The Senate. Our elected officials have created favorable laws that allow them to profit directly from their own legislation.
A recently used example: Say I received a tip about a park that was going to be built and paid for by government funds. I buy up all the land in that area of town, and sell it for an outrageous amount of money. Everything I did was legal.
Of course, it also pertains to many other politicos and sideliners in American politics. Representative, Senators, Mayors, Governors, Judges, et al, are routinely rewarded by lobbyists and others, who give them inside tips on stock moves, construction projects, real estate deals and many other methods of generating income.
And it goes both ways. The same elected officials pay off their political base by leaking insider knowlege of new legislation and upcoming legislative changes.
“Throw Them All Out“, A new book by Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, shines a bright light on current activities in our Congress. Here’s a quick list of some of the many names named in this stunning book:
Chapter 1 – John Kerry; Tom Carper; Melissa Bean; Jared Polis; James Oberstar; Jeb Bradley; John Boehner; Jim McDermott; Amo Houghton.
Chapter 2 – Max Baucus; Jim Moran; Dick Durbin; Rahm Emanuel.
Chapter 3 – Nancy Pelosi; Gary Ackerman.
Chapter 4 – Dennis Hastert; Carolyn Maloney; Judd Gregg; Ken Calvert; David Hobson; Heath Shuler; Bennie Thompson; Maurice Hinchey; Jerry Lewis; Harry Reid.
The book goes into such trades that Al Gore made in which he and a Silicon Valley investor put in $16 million into a company before a $25 million grant was issued by the federal government, after which Gore’s initial investment turned into $89 million.
Insider trading is illegal — except for members of Congress. A Wall Street executive who buys or sells stock based on insider information would face a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and quite possibly a federal prosecutor. But senators and congressmen are free to legally trade stock based on nonpublic information they have obtained through their official positions as elected officials — and they do so on a regular basis.