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article imageOp-Ed: Did Ryan trade on insider information before 2008 crash?

By Bill Schmalfeldt     Aug 13, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Remember that fateful, dour day -- September 18, 2008 -- when congressional leaders met with Bush's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Head of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, and were told that the financial world was about to come to an end?
Details of that meeting have never been released. But the purpose was to beg Congress into passing bailout legislation to save the banks from melting.
Rep. Paul Ryan would have been invited to that meeting as Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee (He is now chairman).
According to Business Insider:
Republican Vice Presidential Pick Paul Ryan sold shares in a number of financial companies including Citigroup, General Electric, Wachovia, and JP Morgan Chase on the same day as then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke held a closed meeting with congressional leaders during the financial crisis.
At issue are the sale of troubled banks like Wachovia and Citi, as well as General Electric's struggling capital unit, dated on September 18, 2008 — the same day as the meeting with Bernanke and Paulson according to the Associated Press.
He went out and sold his vulnerable stocks and reinvested in Goldman-Sachs, which the group was told was a safe place to stash their dough.
On Monday October 6, the stock market would start a week-long decline in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average would fall 1,874 points or 18.1%. This was the beginning of the Bush Recession/near Depression that Bush -- to his credit -- tried to forestall with the much-maligned Toxic Asset Recovery Program (the TARP program for which the ill-informed blame President Obama).
The crash did not catch Ryan napping!
On September 18, 2008, the same day as he and the other congressional leaders were warned of the soon-to-come financial catastrophe, Congressman Ryan unloaded the following stocks.
Citigroup, which lost 95% of its value in the next 4 months
GE, which lost 73% of its value in the next 4 months
Wachovia, which crashed and became part of Wells Fargo in the next month
JP Morgan which lost 66% of its value.
The Goldman-Sachs stock he purchased on that same day only lost 41% of its value over the next four months.
Just let your mind absorb this. And don't take our word for it. You can read Ryan's financial disclosures for 2008 right here. Scroll down to images, then click the link for 2008. Stock transactions begin on page 12.
The New York Times reported this meeting took place in the evening, which casts doubt as to whether or not members would have had the time to unload stocks on the same day. (Are stocks sold online after closing hours marked the next business day?)
But even then. What amazing luck. On the very same day as he and other congressional leaders were warned about the upcoming banking calamity, Ryan unloaded four major banking assets and reinvested into an asset they were all told would not be hurt that badly!
And then, because he's so lucky, two and half weeks later, came the 2008 Stock Market crash and Congressman Ryan avoided much of the financial damage that pulverized the economy -- including those who did not have access to the information Ryan acquired on Sept. 18 -- the same day he sold those stocks.
Similar checks show that future Speaker John Boehner -- also part of the meeting -- made no such sales. Eric Cantor had the decency to wait until the market actually crashed before he unloaded anything. Barack Obama and John McCain, both members of the Senate, were part of the meeting due to their status as candidates in the upcoming presidential election. Neither of them made any sudden stock moves. Sen. Mitch McConnell would surely have known something bad was coming, But he didn't have any stock transactions after July. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, unloaded a bit of stock. But not until after the crash was well underway.
We don't have time to check all 435 members of the House or 100 members of the Senate. But not all members were invited to the meeting. Sen. Chuck Schumer was there. His disclosures show no suspicious activity. Sen. Chris Dodd was there, and his disclosures show no stock sales for the entire year. Sen. Richard Shelby was there. No transactions on his disclosure statement.
I don't know about you, but that is exactly the kind of foresight we need in a vice president. Maybe we should ask him about lottery numbers?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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