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The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee is reportedly the subject of an ethics investigation into a series of suspicious trades that might violate insider trading laws.
The Washington Post first reported the story late Thursday, citing individuals familiar with the Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into Rep. Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican.
While the ethics office is not commenting on the story, Bachus's office released the following statement: "The Office of Congressional Ethics has requested information and I welcome this opportunity to present the facts and set the record straight."
Bachus leads one of most powerful committees in Congress. The finance panel is responsible for oversight of the U.S.'s banking and financial industries. As the Post notes, Bachus is an avid trader, and according to his financial disclosure forms, some of his trades seem to coincide with major policy announcements by the federal government.
According to the Post's unnamed sources, Bachus is being investigated for violating Securities and Exchange Commission laws prohibiting individuals from trading based on non-public inside information. His financial records are also being examined to see if he may have violated rules barring lawmakers from benefiting privately from their positions in public offices.
Politico explains that results of the OCE investigation into Bachus's financial records would next be passed on to the more powerful House Ethics Committee.
Insider trading in Congress has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as both chambers voted overwhelmingly to approve bills aimed at explicitly barring the practice. On Thursday, the House approved a version of the STOCK Act, a bill passed by the Senate last week that bans insider trading by congressmen. The House vote was 417-2 for a bill that is seen as a slightly weaker version of the Senate's draft, according to The Hill.