US Govt Corruption-fest: One third of top EPA officials also invested in companies they oversee

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By Jo Nova

The Wall Street Journal — bless them — analyzed 12,000 officials at 50 federal agencies and sifted through 850,000 financial assets to uncover a seething well of graft, grift and pilfering. As the WSJ prosaically says, “The federal government doesn’t maintain a comprehensive public database of the mandatory financial disclosures of all senior executive-branch officials. So, The Wall Street Journal built its own.”

There were problems everywhere, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) got the first mention on the “Six Takeaways” list of government corruption. Who would have thought that a public body holding the purse-strings to the rest of the economy, with vague ill-defined, unmeasurable long-term goals would become so corrupt. More to the point, who would have thought they wouldn’t?

With so many public officials making out like bandits the point of carbon credits is not to change the weather, it’s a Bureaucrat Investment Tool. With the power to ban or gift exemptions to favoured firms, bureaucrats can insider trade their way to retirement.

Six Takeaways From WSJ’s Investigation Into the Stock Trades of Government Officials

By Michael Siconolfi, Wall Street Journal

Numerous federal officials owned shares of companies lobbying their agencies:

More than 200 senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, or nearly one in three, reported that they or their family members held investments in companies that were lobbying the agency. EPA employees and their family members collectively owned between $400,000 and nearly $2 million in shares of oil and gas companies on average each year between 2016 and 2021.

An EPA official reported purchases of oil and gas stocks. The Food and Drug Administration improperly let an official own dozens of food and drug stocks on its no-buy list. A Defense Department official bought stock in a defense company five times before it won new business from the Pentagon.

Cocky, What?  This is really blatant:

Some officials traded ahead of regulatory actions:

More than five dozen officials at five agencies reported trading stocks of companies shortly before their departments announced enforcement actions against those companies, such as charges or settlements.

Not only did a lot of people have snouts in the trough, but there must have also been a lot of blind eyes to avoid seeing all that insider trading. And some numbers were surprisingly large for people earning an hourly wage. In some cases, the individual trades were between “$5 million and $25 million”.

People say that the Tech Giants are private, but in some sense Big Gov privately owns Big Tech.

Federal officials are big technology investors:

While the government was ramping up scrutiny of large technology companies, more than 1,800 federal officials reported owning or trading at least one of four major tech stocks: Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

There are around 1,800 people employed by the government who have less than no interest in launching an anti-trust suit.

On the plus side, at least we know there is still a news agency left which has some journalists. And that’s a big deal.

As for the cause of the wave of self serving cheatery, we could do cultural psychoanalysis, but as I keep saying, it starts with fake money. Inflating the currency works like cancer on the delicate network of incentives. First people feel happy, more confident, and more willing to take risks. Things work out, especially for those at the head of the rocket. But pretty soon, things escalate — and before you know it, crazy-land is here, all traffic lights are stuck on Green, and one guy has a plan to hold back the sea and a ten trillion dollar fund to do it.

Somewhere along the way, desk clerks get an investment portfolio, and investment sharks get a job at the EPA. At some point half the population knows someone who’s on the take and getting away with it, and the next day nearly everyone is.

There’s a reason everything seems to be going off the rails simultaneously

The more money we print, the more corruption we feed.

The supply of US base money since 1960. If you thought the GFC was bad…

And if you think corruption is terrible now, just wait until bureaucrats and bankers get a Global Carbon Currency.

Congress photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

via JoNova

October 12, 2022