Spencer Bacus, the Republican congressman from Alabama and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, traded (legally) on private information surrounding the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 and made a nice little bundle as the investment banking system imploded. Had you or I acted on the same information we likely would have gone to jail. For Bacus, at the time, it was legal. The question is whether it was ethical for the Chairman to use his position to personally profit in such a way.
After much hullabaloo, the publication of Throw Them All Out which chronicled Bacus’ trading, and the passage of the STOCK Act which made it illegal to trade on congressional insider information, the establishment GOP has decided to bring Bacus back into the fold. Both Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy have given the maximum $5000 each to Baucus as he pays down his legal fees.