Politicians are often quick to condemn speculators who reap big profits with little risk. Unless, that is, the politicians are the ones reaping the profits. We knew about Hillary Clinton's $100,000 profit trading commodities such as cattle futures; now the New York Daily News brings word that a Democratic Congressman from Queens, Gary Ackerman, made $100,000 of his own. Mr. Ackerman "put no money down when he obtained private stock in the company, Xenonics Inc., relying on $14,000 borrowed in 2002 from the company's top shareholder, a longtime friend. The sweetheart loan required no collateral and had no written payback date, a potential violation of House ethics rules. When the company went public, its stock soared. Ackerman says he repaid the loan at 6% interest and sold the stock for more than $100,000 in 2005 and 2006." Where does a non-politician go to get a deal like this?
From Mr. Ackerman's House bio: "Ackerman also serves on the powerful Financial Services Committee, where he sits on two Subcommittees: Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, as well as Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises (of which he is the Vice Chairman)." Talk about your "consumer credit"!
The lack of prominent attention that the Ackerman story has received in outlets other than the Daily News, which broke it, is evidence of the way that newspapers are sometimes stingy about giving credit or following up on stories that have been developed by their competitors. If the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal had developed this Ackerman news on its own, you can bet it would be a bigger story in their pages.