back to article Suspicious senate stock sale spurt spurs scrutiny scheme: This website tracks which shares US senators are unloading mid-pandemic

Well, if Congress won't do it, we, the geek people, will have to instead, it seems. In the wake of reports last month that four US senators sold stocks shortly after a classified briefing on January 24 about the risk posed by the novel coronavirus, Timothy Carambat, a mechanical and software engineer, created a website to make …

  1. elDog

    How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

    The poor little senators must feel exposed. So now they'll probably use go-betweens to do their trades, at least the ones who aren't already trading that way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

      I'm more worried about how long will it be before he meets with an "accident". There's some mighty powerful interests being embarassed...

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

      yeah "dishonest politician" - describes MOST of them, especially DEMO[C,N]RATS and ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLOCRATS.

      I wonder if they'd EMPEACH THEMSELVES... yeah probably not.

      Letting THESE people GRAB MORE POWER during a pandemic is *CRIMINAL* in and of itself. This is reason enough to END THE SHUTDOWNS. [we're ready for it anyway, at least here in the USA, with medications, extra hospital beds, and an emergency supply line for hospital supplies]

      (the WAITING and the UNCERTAINTY is DRIVING ME INSANE, as if I could become MORE INSANE than I was, but it seems it's happening...)

      looking for straightjacket icon, settling for this

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

        looking for straightjacket icon, settling for this

        Might want to get your caps lock fixed while you're at it.

        1. RyokuMas Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

          "Might want to get your caps lock fixed while you're at it."

          Oh, that's just to make it look more 3D. Lower case is so flatty-mc-flatso...

        2. acid andy
          Coat

          Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

          I think Bob might be channelling Christopher Walken. Or is it Zippy the Pinhead?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

        You must have missed the article where Trump said Republicans couldn't win an honest election.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

          I think that classes as exceptional rare honesty amongst a career where only now the number of Covid19 victims is surpassing the number of lies he has told (he's past 18.000 now).

        2. Imhotep

          Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

          Yrs, I missed it. Can you provide some more detail?

      3. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

        "we're ready for it anyway, at least here in the USA, with medications, extra hospital beds, and an emergency supply line for hospital supplies"

        So are you going to be turning away people to die if they don't have adequate health insurance, or are you going to be just treating them but putting them and their families into debt for the next three generations?

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

          we're ready for it anyway, at least here in the USA, with medications, extra hospital beds, and an emergency supply line for hospital supplies

          Oh, and Kool-Aid. Lots of Kool-Aid, especially for those who would rather drink than think.

          Looks like our buddy Bob has already been imbibing....

      4. batfink Silver badge

        Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

        "Empeach"? Bob you are losing it!

        Although I suppose turning politicians more peachy might be considered a good thing in some quarters...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

        What is "EMPEACH"? It sounds like " to make something or someone a shade of orange", which has apparently been done already. Oh, you mean impeach? That has already been done, to little effect as well. When do we get to guillotine?

      6. Getmo

        Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

        Oh Bob, I'm legitimately disappointed to learn you don't already have DEMO[N,C]RATS macro'd to your keyboard, or at least added to dictionary so you can make use of that wonderful autocorrect tool.

    3. Imhotep

      Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

      Most, if not all of those stocks, are held in blind trust for those senators, in theory removing them from any decisions regarding the holdings.

      The Wall Street Journal has covered these particular transactions in more detail - it makes for interesting reading and highlights some weaknesses in how transactions are tracked and recorded.

      In any case, good on the gentleman for creating this site.

  2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Devil

    They are not going to like it up 'em. British and other European politicians won't either.

  3. jpo234

    This would only be illegal if the briefing contained company specific information. A general "this is going to be bad for airlines and the hospitality industry" does not qualify as insider information. And I kind of doubt that these confidential briefings had anything more to say on this topic.

    The confidential part is almost certainly about stockpiles of masks or the contingency planning of the military.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Good luck with that. The SEC have quite broad opinions on what constitutes insider trading.

      Famous case was a train driver who noticed a lot of cars in the visitor parking lot with plates from the state where their much larger competitor was HQ'ed, decided there was probably going to be a takeover and bought stock.

      Of course the SEC also has a long history of not wanting to go after the rich and powerful

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        ...a train driver who noticed a lot of cars in the visitor parking lot with plates from the state where their much larger competitor was HQ'ed, decided there was probably going to be a takeover and bought stock.a train driver who noticed a lot of cars in the visitor parking lot with plates from the state where their much larger competitor was HQ'ed, decided there was probably going to be a takeover and bought stock.

        A reference would be nice. And this is enviable astuteness, surely it would only be insider trading if he were an trader, or possibly as an employee was told something.

        Insider Trading is rather a bogus concept at the best of times, purely moralistic. Whilst it would be nice if company owners didn't pump and dump their own shares, it seems utterly natural that one should act on any information available.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          The SEC claim was that an employee was pretty much automatically insider trading. The case was overturned but there is a complaint that the sec likes insider trading by low end employees as a cheap win.

          1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            I was going to say--what is "insider" about who's in the parking lot? Unless you stop skip tracers from visiting...

        2. a pressbutton Silver badge

          Good example

          Comment is relevant to the UK

          I do not have access to insider information, but am forced to sit through the online course every year.

          If the information is available to the public, it is not insider trading and IANAL.

          So, if that carpark was visible to the public, and it was possible for the public to see the number plates, probably not insider trading in the uk.

          The example we get is

          (a)Factory on fire that you can see from the train - public information

          (b)You pick up a document from the next seat that says P&C all over it and read it and it says 'oops our top secret factory has burnt down and no-one knows' - not public information.

          Please remember: I am not a lawyer.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Good example

            >(b)You pick up a document from the next seat that says P&C all over it and read it and it says 'oops our top secret factory has burnt down and no-one knows' - not public information.

            Over here it's defined more in your role. So that would be perfectly fine unless I was eg a cleaner for the train company, then my 'privileged position' gave me access to the document.

            I have to sit through the same pointless training, but you can make them more fun by trying to think up examples to ask the trainer that would confuse a Jesuit.

        3. Stork Silver badge

          In some cases it is well defined. My wife as co-founder and I as spouse) could in reality only trade their shares in brief periods after quarterly reports and press releases.

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      Stop

      ... kind of doubt that these confidential briefings had anything more to say on this topic.

      Really?

      O.

    3. Drew 11

      The main point was that Loeffler and Burr sat in on briefings that basically said it was going to be FUBAR, sold and bought stocks indicating they believed the content of the briefings, BUT continued to parrot the TRUMP/GOP "nothing to see here, move along" line in public. Executive summary: Those two people are arseholes.

    4. JoeCool

      "... does not qualify as insider information"

      Says the non-lawyer, non-stock trader.

      There is a reason that some people in that position put their holdings in a blind trust.

    5. RLWatkins

      It isn't illegal at all. Insider trading is legal for legislators. Has been for years. Some years ago congress voted to make it illegal, to great public fanfare, then voted very quietly to make it legal once again. Sure, it's unethical, but they didn't break the law.

  4. IGotOut Silver badge

    Shock

    Politicians are corrupt.

    Will anything happen? Of course not.

    Something tells me "luxury" (read tacky) hotels and golf courses will get extra special bailouts.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Shock

      That was one of the holdups in passing the bill. A special $500Bn fund for the Republican speaker to use to directly assist specific companies he felt were special.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shock

        The bailout in the US is called the CARES act, ''Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act'' but it is actually the "Stupid Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act''

        The average US funded bailout business loan is about $14,000 - so for every company that gets a $10,000,000 loan, 20,000 companies get $500. So this means that investing in the stock of large companies will be profitable but investing in companies that have multiple small retailers (each getting a $500 loan) all over the country will be a disaster.

        My company survived the 2008 economic crash but they had to let half of the staff go, this is probably going to be the end of us, they have been trying to apply for a loan but so far nobody has managed to get through the paperwork.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Shock

          Or a few $Bn for each airline and fracker, then a handful of magic beans to any small business in a swing state

    2. StuntMisanthrope

      Re: Shock

      That's because luxury hotels, golf-courses, travel, services and all the supply chains involved employ the most people, not the financial services sector. It's how the tower structures are under duress at the minute as well. #awe

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shock

      Something tells me "luxury" (read tacky) hotels and golf courses will get extra special bailouts.

      That's why Trump had to sack the guy they got to oversee and track payments. That came as a huge surprise - not.

      It is but a theory, but I suspect that Trump's business is probably an array of real estate, which means it is most likely chain leveraged to the hilt. Now he cannot milk foreign dignitaries seeking to buy influence, the extra income he gets from renting golf carts to the Secret Service is not enough to keep things afloat and the problem with chained leverage is that it is subject to weakest link problems: one property not keeping up with repayment is enough to make the whole house of cards collapse - also because there is no way the family is going to spend less on their lavish lifestyle.

      Ergo, Trump is likely to need money, and fast. I don't think he can get away a second time by suing a lender who demands their money back, even Deutsche Bank eventually learned its lesson. Also, the resulting publicity would make it public that he's in the red..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shock

        Couldn't happen to a better person.

        I guess the "Trump companies can not benefit" didn't make it into the final bill then, or was that just rumour that they tried to include that?

      2. holmegm Bronze badge

        Re: Shock

        You people are literally nuts. Your hatred has made your brain leave reality.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Shock

          You've got that the wrong way around, that hatred is the result of their brains experiencing reality for a prolonged period.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    It Never Rains but IT Pours Deep Drowning Pools of Information/Raging Torrents of Intelligence.

    the level of access they have to information currently is highly privileged and it would only make sense to keep their own financial best interests at heart."

    Failing to do so has All knowing they do possess such absolutely necessary vital intelligence. Such leads Ignorance into the Intolerant Madness where every Genius Resides and Presides to Bear Forth Fruitful Ideas for Remote Virtual Practical Application ...... in Live Operational Virtual Environment Beta Tests/Pioneering AIMissions.

    Crikey, that took me right back to the days and comics of Dan Dare ....... a very early meme exercising and exciting inspiration and aspiration and kick-starting vivid imagination.

    Re the colossal elephant in the room ..... "I am not a broker, nor am I qualified to make any kind of inference on this data," he said. "I simply present this data in a user friendly format and I urge the user to simply use it for information and not as a 'stock tip.'"

    Does it easily reveal systemic criminal activity embedded in the Senate, and personally identify rotten apples to squeeze and interrogate further for truth filled answers .... Real Smart Replies. Do you think they know .... Their very future existence would depend upon it and such being so.

    And how wonderfully strange and most encouraging ...... the following which is as an AIMirror of the Latter Former. ‽

    amanfromMars [2004131211] ......seeding a few words to the wise on https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/escobar-total-system-failure-will-give-rise-new-economy

    Traditionally, countries and cabals being outcompeted go to war, so China needs to thrive modestly or quietly. ..... Pardero

    Traditionally yes .... but that was surely before such times as these of immediate information discovery and advanced intelligence facilities which would realise any crazy leaders discussing the possibility of wars from such cabal run countries, and their supporting advisors, are the toxic enemy to be permanently rid of.

    I wonder if they be smart enough to realise that nowadays?

    And would you say there's a lot of sensitive information Registered freely here for El Regers to utilise as best they can, which be superb prime insider trade materiel? Is none at all likely?

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: It Never Rains but IT Pours Deep Drowning Pools of Information/Raging Torrents of Intelligence.

      Well at least amanfromMars1 is still among us. I will rest easy tonight.

  6. osakajin Bronze badge

    Guamtanamo still open for guests? Got a feeling he might be checking in soon.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Well, according to Michael Moore it has better healthcare than the rest of the USA so that's an incentive in itself. The only problem I see is that he may end up partially invisible as his skin tone matches the prison garb there..

  7. Mark192 Bronze badge

    Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

    ...is as strange a decision as UK hospitals/NHS trusts not already having a strategic reserve of gloves, masks and other cheap protective equipment for their staff.

    Anyone who waited until February to sell their stocks in companies that would be affected by a pandemic is probably not fit for any position of responsibility.

    Rather than an indication of corruption, this is more proof that we're led by idiots and chancers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

      Oh I don't know, there'll be a lot of people looking to go on holiday when this is all over. Kinda, big bust but then an even bigger boom. It could play out well just hanging on to stocks that, temporarily, aren't that great.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

        Yes and no. How many of those stocks will be worthless, and bust, in 6 months time?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

          Some big airlines/hotels could do very well.

          All the budget airlines (especially the long haul ones) go bust.

          Giant US airlines and foreign flag carriers get bailed out

          So next year there is still United, Air France and Etihad but no Norwegian/GermanWings/Zoom/Westjet

          Same with hotels. If Airbnb dies and a bunch of small franchise motels go under

          People have to travel for work, however much video conferencing improves - so now your airfare costs more and there are only mid-range hotels left.

        2. bazza Silver badge

          Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

          Cruise bookings are apparently up.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

            >Cruise bookings are apparently up.

            Probably 'we will rebook in 6months for free' emails. I imagine a few travel insurance policies will be checked when the cruise companies look shaky

          2. Danny Boyd Bronze badge

            Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

            Especially on "Princess" liners, I heard.

            1. Chris G Silver badge

              Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

              Considering the demographic of most cruisers and the C19 propensity for striking down that same demographic group, I suspect bookings on Cruises will only pick up on hospital ships.

      2. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Not selling airline or hotel stocks when this spread from Wuhan...

        It depends very much on the economic slump we are getting. Leisure travel is hit by less pay, and I can imagine corporate travel budgets coming under scrutiny too.

  8. Marty McFly
    Holmes

    So when are they buying back in?

    When these congress clowns start buying stock in travel/vacation industries, that will be the clue that they are about to lift the restrictions.

    1. Danny Boyd Bronze badge

      Re: So when are they buying back in?

      And here comes the second wave...

      1. a pressbutton Silver badge

        Re: So when are they buying back in?

        After the ninth wave, Kate bush will be buying.

  9. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Mark Twain

    Twain observed Congress is America's native criminal class. They haven't changed in over 100 years. The only question is whether Congress critter stock sales are exempted from insider trader, the critters are notorious for exempting themselves for the laws they inflict on us peasants.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Mark Twain

      Ironically it would be best for everyone if they were exempt. The trades are public so act like a giant lie detector

      1. Cassini

        Re: Mark Twain

        You don't need a lie detector of any sort for politicians.

        1. Kane Silver badge

          Re: Mark Twain

          "You don't need a lie detector of any sort for politicians."

          Just watch their mouths open.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge

            Re: Mark Twain

            ...or, in tRump's case, just watch him breathe.

  10. kitekrazy

    Terms limits and volunteer work.

    Make congressional offices volunteer work. They are not allowed to draw any income during their term. These people are already rich but they hate the 1% because they are not one of them. I know they like to point out how stupid that Stacey O. is but she saw an opportunity in an election spot no one really wanted. Even if she serves one term it's over $400K and a pension only they can get.

    1. crayon

      Re: Terms limits and volunteer work.

      That will probably just encourage them to make even more of their time in office to enrich themselves.

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