Quick takes: Insider trading at BP, Citigroup and Maxine Waters
The story: SEC investigating insider trading at BP
"U.S. securities regulators are investigating whether people may have illegally profited from trading on nonpublic information at BP Plc in the weeks and months following the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, two sources familiar with the investigation said on Monday.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating whether BP properly disclosed information on risks related to its deepwater oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the sources said."
The takeaway: It's no surprise the SEC, and every other regulator, is taking a look at just about everything going on inside BP. The oil giant had previously disclosed a securities probe.
The story: Citigroup settlement punishes shareholders
"Who is paying that $75 million fine? The answer is Citigroup's shareholders -- the same people who were arguably defrauded by its failure to disclose its exposure to subprime mortgages in the first place. And that means you and I are liable, too. Taxpayers own 18 percent of the company."
Who: Andrew Ross Sorkin
The takeaway: No question that the Citigroup settlement, along with other settlements with Wall Street banks this year, raises questions about the effectiveness of penalizing companies. But Sorkin doesn't discuss how the effect of the sanctions are often much bigger than the price tag.
The story: Waters probably broke ethics rules
"An ethics report released Monday found that Rep. Maxine Waters probably broke conflict-of-interest rules in urging federal aid for a bank where her husband had served on the board and owned hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock.
... The case revolves around Waters's role in arranging meetings between Treasury Department officials and executives of minority-owned OneUnited Bank and whether her intent was to broadly benefit minority-owned financial firms represented by the National Bankers Association (NBA) or simply to aid Boston-based OneUnited."
Who: Ben Pershing and Paul Kane, The Washington Post
The takeaway: Whether she's guilty or innocent, it's another illustration of the risks of politicization when the government gets involved in investing in the private sector.
August 3, 2010; 10:17 AM ET
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