08 April 2013

"The political intelligence industry is flourishing, enriching itself and clients in the stock market"

Excerpts from The Blog of Legal Times:
A highly anticipated report published today by the investigative arm of Congress addresses the murky arena of "political intelligence" but leaves unanswered many questions about the size and power of the shadowy Washington information gathering industry.

The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office targets the role of political intelligence in financial markets... The act defines political intelligence as information "derived by a person from direct communications with an executive branch employee, a Member of Congress, or an employee of Congress; and provided in exchange for financial compensation to a client who intends, and who is known to intend, to use the information to inform investment decisions."

Unlike federal lobbyists, political intelligence consultants aren't required to register with Congress and disclose their activities and income...

Wiley Rein of counsel Robert Walker, a former chief counsel and staff director of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives ethics committees, said the definition of political intelligence is "problematic" and "overly broad," making regulation difficult...

"The political intelligence industry is flourishing, enriching itself and clients in the stock market, yet the report notes that it could not document who these people are or how much they profit," he said. "Without full transparency of the activity of these political intelligence consultants and their clients, it is nearly impossible to know if they are trading on illegal insider information."
Via Boing Boing.  It seems appropriate to close with a link to George Carlin's famous rant - "It's a big club, and you ain't in it."  If you've not heard it before, it may be worth three minutes of your time.

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