The Australian files this report today, penned by Nico Hines, the Washington correspondent. It starts:
WHILE the financial crisis rages around them, leading US politicians are accused of making millions of dollars through loopholes in insider-trading laws and lucrative land deals assisted by government funding.
Members of congress, who are worth more than $US2 billion ($1.94bn) between them, increased their personal fortunes by almost 25 per cent between 2008 and last year, a period marked by falling stockmarkets and investor confidence.
In Throw Them All Out, a book published in the US overnight, Peter Schweizer argues the political class enjoys a legal framework that allows members to make multi-million-dollar Wall Street deals free from the scrutiny of insider-trading laws or conflict-of- interest legislation.
“There’s a huge problem of self-enrichment,” Schweizer said. “Politicians tend to be extraordinarily good in terms of their stock picks so you have to conclude that these are brilliant people or something’s afoot.”