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October 6, 2021

Better Markets Welcomes SEC Investigation of Federal Reserve Pandemic Trading and Confirmation of Applicability of Insider Trading Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Dennis Kelleher, Co-founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets, released the following statement in response to the SEC investigation of Federal Reserve leaders’ trading during the pandemic and confirmation of applicability of insider trading laws to those in government:

“As SEC Chairman Gensler testified at the House Financial Services Committee (quoted here and below), we welcome the SEC’s de facto confirmation of its investigation into the trading during the pandemic by numerous Federal Reserve leaders, including Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida, and several regional Presidents. In addition to violating Fed policies, failing to provide leadership, and violating the public trust by seeking to enrich themselves while their policy actions impacted the price of financial assets and while apparently in possession of material nonpublic information, this trading may well have violated the law.  That’s why a thorough, independent investigation by the SEC is so important.

“We also welcome the SEC’s confirmation that the insider trading laws apply to everyone, including those in government.  The Department of Justice should now join the SEC and the Federal Reserve IG investigations and Congress should investigate as well as Sen. Ossoff has called for.  The American people should see that the most senior financial and economic policy-makers in the country are not above the law and will be held accountable.  Better Markets has repeatedly called for independent investigations by the Fed’s IG, the SEC, and DOJ since early September.

“These investigations, however important, are not enough. The Fed’s coverup and failure to come clean with the American people must stop.  For example, the American people still have no idea if the trading by these half dozen leaders is all there was or if they are just the tip of an iceberg of widespread trading by Fed personnel while the pandemic was killing hundreds of thousands of Americans and throwing tens of millions out of work.  The Fed must disclose the extent of the trading during the pandemic by everyone who was in possession of material nonpublic information.  Among other things, the Fed must also order the Dallas Fed President to stop stonewalling and disclose the dates of his trading as required by the Fed’s policies, practices, and forms.”

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SEC Chair Gensler’s testimony (as reported here): “We as an agency look into things that are brought to our attention,” Mr. Gensler said, adding that he can’t confirm or deny any potential investigations. “I want to say, generally speaking, whether somebody is in the government or outside of the government, that one is not to trade on material nonpublic information, and that’s what our laws are about,” he said.

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.

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