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(5,001 posts)
Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:00 PM Jan 2012

Demand That John Boehner Be Expelled Or Resign For Keystone XL Scandal

A good job with benefits and a pension are hard to find and if any American is fortunate enough to have a job, it is unlikely they would resign unless circumstances made remaining on the job intolerable. There are, however, occasions when a compassionate employer finds it necessary to force an employee to resign for bad behavior instead of terminating their employment. Members of Congress are unlikely to ever resign unless there is an impending ethics investigation or morality issues that are egregious enough to spark an investigation and subsequent trial to expel the offender from the House or Senate. Newt Gingrich was forced to resign his position as Speaker of the House in 1999 after being fined and reprimanded for ethics violations, but it was pressure from Republicans that forced his eventual resignation.

The current House Speaker, John Boehner, has demonstrated that he, like Gingrich, is averse to ethical behavior and it is time for him to resign his position or face an ethics investigation and eventual expulsion from Congress. There is precedent in calling for Boehner’s resignation or expulsion, and ironically, it involved another representative from Ohio. James A. Traficant Jr. of Ohio was expelled in July 2002 after he was convicted of receiving favors, gifts and money in return for performing official acts on behalf of the donors. John Boehner’s case is similar to Traficant’s in that he is performing official acts on behalf of the oil industry and seven Canadian tar sands companies that stand to benefit if the Keystone XL pipeline is built between Canada and the Gulf Coast. Boehner’s official acts on behalf of Canada’s tar sands industry are scandalous because he owns stock in the aforementioned seven companies, and he is using his financial gain as impetus to hold 160 million Americans’ tax cuts hostage in return for immediate approval of the Keystone pipeline.

On Sunday, Boehner told “Fox News Sunday” that Republicans may tie approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to the next payroll tax cut extension to force President Obama to give his backing to the project. Boehner said, “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure this Keystone pipeline project is approved,” and as Republicans have shown with the debt ceiling, holding the payroll tax cut hostage is not out of the realm of possibilities. The only beneficiaries of the Keystone pipeline are Canada’s tar sands companies, the oil industry, and John Boehner.

Boehner’s 2010 financial disclosure form reveals his investment of $15,001 to $50,000 in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, and they are in the business of tar sands oil and are just one of seven companies Boehner bought stocks in. His 2009 disclosure shows no stocks in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd leading any semi-intelligent American to believe Boehner bought stock in Canada’s tar sands just in time to reap financial benefits if and when the pipeline was completed and carrying Canadian oil to Texas for refinement and sale on the foreign market. Boehner’s push, as Speaker of the House, to build the pipeline is beyond simple conflict of interest; he is performing official acts for favors (campaign contributions) and money in the form of dividends from his oil sands stocks. Boehner’s gifts in exchange for performing official acts for the oil industry are $144,150 in the form of campaign contributions in 2010 alone. Boehner must resign or face an ethics investigation that may result in his expulsion from the House.

Read more: http://www.politicususa.com/en/john-boehner-keystone-scandal


(62,683 posts)
3. Could this be the insider trading Obama was referring to?
Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:12 PM
Jan 2012

Did Boehner blanch when Obama said it?


I'm hoping at least some on MSNBC will cover this. If not, I'm sending the link to ALL of them.


(62,683 posts)
8. You know, I KNEW that -- I was getting confused forgetting that members of congress
Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:37 PM
Jan 2012

were subject to the same laws as the American citizens.

This is a great example of laws they pass to better themselves of which the general population is unaware.

What a bunch of sneaks. Do you know when that was passed?


(59,333 posts)
11. I think that is more semantics than real
Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:22 AM
Jan 2012

"Insider trading" is something monitored by the SEC and they oversee publicly traded companies. The rules specifically list the positions in companies that are subject to its provisions. As legislators are not included in this, it is true to say that they are not subject to insider trading rules.

That said, there are ethics rules in both the House and the Senate. They can investigate whether a legislator used his position for financial gain. Highly publicized recent examples include both the House and the Senate looking at Countrywide giving preferential loans to legislators, including Senators Dodd and Conrad. The same could be done for any REAL, provable insider trading or use of inside information. Here, the most obvious example would be positioning oneself to gain from a not yet public earmark that has been accepted in a bill. (Here's an example of Speaker Hastert - http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2006/06/15/5792/hastert-pictures-of-corruption/?mobile=nc )

Strengthening the ethics rules could more explicitly prohibit some unethical behavior, but the current wave of action is really more political than reality based. The sudden desire to act against this - though Louise Slaughter's bill has been pretty dormant since 2006 when it was first introduced was caused by Sarah Palin's "national security" adviser's book that 60 Minutes profiled in an explosive expose. The problem is that the research methods are simplistic and beyond that there are some pretty mindbogling "mistakes". Palin "wrote" an op-ed on insider trading for the WSJ and has spoken of Schweitzer as one of her posse.

Here is the method used. He looked at all committees a legislator was on and then looked at the legally mandated disclosures made. He then identified all transactions made that are for companies in the businesses that the legislator oversees. One example is that he labeled ANY purchase of any health care stock or fund in 2009 suspect for Senators on the Finance or HELP committee suspect - because apparently it was insider information that they were working on a health care bill. Then, to add more smoke to that fire, he found that a year later when the bill passed, the value of these stocks were way up. Ignored is the fact that the market itself rose about 59% from the bottom in 2009 to the spring of 2010. (In fact, they would have done better buying Tiffany in March 2009 - as it went up about 250% by April 2010) It should also be noted that he ignored if the transactions occurred in blind accounts or accounts managed by others.

As to the errors, the ones I saw in the excerpts in the media included saying that Kerry was chair of the Finance committee's subcommittee on health in 2003 and thus led the effort on the 2003 drug bill - so like with 2009, any healthcare stocks are suspicious. In fact, it was a Bush supported bill and the republicans controlled the Senate and the bill was written in the full Finance committee. Kerry was running for President speaking against the bill and voted against it. I doubt many here do not know the 2003 bill was not a Democratic bill. Another error - likely coming from having created the above "truth" was to then suggest that Kerry was on the Health committee (HELP) and could have been informed of any Bush HHS change in drugs covered. Kerry was not on Kennedy's committee and before arguing insider information it would seem prudent to actually determine if the HHS department notifies the House and/or Senate about routine executive functions - such as which drugs are covered. My guess - they don't - - thus the weasel word "could".

The Boston Globe looked at a more comprehensive analysis that showed that if you look at all transactions - instead of cherry picked ones - legislators do not do better than others. http://articles.boston.com/2011-12-14/bostonglobe/30516909_1_insider-suspicious-trades-portfolio

Here is a defense one Colorado Democrat, who had done everything anyone would have asked to avoid conflict of interest, but was still named by Palin's goon, wrote. http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_19801816

In addition, there is something wrong when an analysis like that is made and the person intending to level serious charges at public officials that will damage their reputations and question their integrity, that NO effort was made to ask the accused for any response. In addition, publicly available information that diminishes the likelihood of culpability is ignored. That is true in the case of the Colorado legislator and in the case of John Kerry. (In Kerry's case all the transactions mentioned were made by the Heinz trust, that Teresa is one of many beneficiaries but not a trustee of - and that was clear on the Senate disclosure.) When the allegation came out, Kerry demanded a retraction - http://www.businessinsider.com/insider-trading-congress-john-kerry-retraction-peter-schweizer-2011-11 )

My guess is that Obama is attempting to head off in the pass what otherwise would be a Palin led attack in the 2012 election. Counterintuitive as it is, the republicans may see that further diminishing the historically low confidence in Congress is good for the anti-Government wing of the Republican party. Not to mention - it could make the ethics rules tighter which was one of the things Obama did as a Senator. Oddly, this might be the only regulation the republicans are for.


a simple pattern

(608 posts)
7. He looked like he was on the witness stand ready to deny everything.
Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:09 PM
Jan 2012

I swear I heard Republicans yelling "Noooooo!" in the background.



(22,308 posts)
4. The guy who handed out checks on the floor of The House
Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:27 PM
Jan 2012

from big tobacco is displaying unethical behavior?

I'm Shocked! Shocked I Say!

Well, I guess we all know why President Obama included his insider trader line in the SOTU.


(62,683 posts)
9. Surfdog reminded me this is LEGAL!
Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:40 PM
Jan 2012

But maybe Obama is disgusted by it. I hope he realizes the motivation behind the rah rah support of this and bears that in mind when making his FINAL decision on the pipeline.

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