Tags: insider | trading | house | ways | means | committee

Ways and Means Staffer Sets Up Insider Trading Defense Fund

By    |   Monday, 06 Oct 2014 10:13 PM

A top staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee has set up a special trust fund to solicit money for his defense in a contentious insider-trading probe, the National Journal reports.

The fund for Brian Sutter, staff director of the committee's Health subpanel, is the latest development in a protracted case by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department that has embroiled Congress since the early summer.

The SEC and Justice Department have issued subpoenaes in an investigation that tests the limits of federal insider-trading laws on whether the House Ways and Means committee or its staff illegally passed on non-public information about a change in U.S. health-care policy.

The SEC has cited a 2012 law requiring public officials to keep confidential any non-public information about government matters that could move stock prices.

But the committee and Sutter have pushed back hard.

"What the SEC has done is embark on a remarkable fishing expedition for congressional records -- core legislative records," Kerry Kircher, the top lawyer for the House, said in a court filing last June.

Specifically, the investigation is focusing on a spike in stock trading of certain health care companies based on a prediction of a government health care policy by a research company, Height Securities, the National Journal reports.

Investigators want to know what role, if any, Sutter's advance knowledge may have played in that company getting information on which to make its prediction.

But the National Journal reports the House general counsel's office has bitterly blasted each subpoena as "vague, confusing, overbroad, unduly burdensome, and unlikely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." And the general counsel also has criticized the subpoenaing of Sutter as "improper because high-ranking government officials may not be compelled to testify absent extraordinary circumstances not present here."

According to the Journal, the trust was created last Tuesday "to provide a proper means for the acceptance of money, property and services."

Donations collected, according to the National Journal, are to be used by Sutter's trust toward legal fees "in connection with his official duties and position as a staffer in the United States House of Representatives, in connection with any action taken against Mr. Sutter by the Securities and Exchange Commission or the United States Department of Justice."

An individual or corporation can't donate more than $5,000 a year, the Journal noted, but it's not clear if lawmakers and fellow congressional staffers can donate.

The Journal said neither House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., nor Sutter or the agencies involved in the probe would comment.

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A top staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee has set up a special trust fund to solicit money for his defense in a contentious insider-trading probe, the National Journal reports.
insider, trading, house, ways, means, committee
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2014-13-06
Monday, 06 Oct 2014 10:13 PM
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