If you lost money in the stock market over the last few years, it may be because politically-connected people are trading in the stock market based on sensitive, confidential government information that you don’t have access to — information like monthly federal employment figures, which can drive the stock market up or down by hundreds of points by disclosing the direction the economy is headed. As veteran journalist Michael Barone notes, liberal federal officials are now giving such insider-information to key Obama supporters, like the office of North Carolina’s Democratic governor, violating federal criminal laws in the process. As a result, some people who learn of it in advance may be making a quick buck off of that information before it becomes publicly available. Such information is supposed to be kept confidential by the Bureau of Labor Statistics before its public release. When I worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some statistics were as closely guarded as Fort Knox, and subject to very tight security. If I had had access to such information, and released it, I would have been fired, and criminally prosecuted. As Barone, the author of the Almanac of American Politics, notes,
staffers in North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue’s office have been getting advance word on monthly unemployment statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is highly illegal under federal law and violates what I have understood to be a strong tradition in the BLS and other government statistics that no one—no one at all, not even in the White House—gets advanced word ahead of the public announcement of government statistics.
There’s obviously good reason for this: someone with advanced word could place bets in financial and community markets and make lots of money. That’s why Congress provided for penalties of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for early release of this data. And there’s another excellent reason: government statistical agencies should be free of political influence to insure the integrity of the numbers on which many people depend. . . an important part of the bureaucratic culture of federal statistical agencies is a pride in their independence and integrity; this is something not to be lightly squandered.
This disturbing information was earlier reported by the Carolina Journal.
This favoritism toward Administration supporters — potentially at the expense of the investing public — is depressing, but perhaps not too shocking, in an age of crony capitalism and corporate welfare exemplified by the Solyndra scandal (in which an entity owned by Obama backers got hundreds of millions in preferential taxpayer subsidies after the Obama Administration ignored warnings that it would go bankrupt) and the rip-off of Chrysler and GM bondholders (and taxpayers) to enrich the politically-connected UAW union.