Senator John Hoeven, R-N.D., has allegedly been involved in insider trading, and yet he’s trying to tell us that he’s done nothing wrong.
According to a story first reported on CNBC, Hoeven purchased stock in the BlackRock Health Sciences Trust II fund five days after receiving a briefing on the coronavirus. After that same briefing, several of his colleagues sold off shares of stock, presumably in anticipation of the market taking a nosedive due to the crisis that was coming – as they’d just been told by “health and State Department officials.”
As The Hill reported, “According to financial disclosure forms, Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) each sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks within days of the Senate holding a classified briefing on Jan. 24 with Trump administration officials on the threat of the coronavirus outbreak.” Because he hasn’t avoided the loss of millions, like his colleagues, Hoeven’s still flying a bit under the radar. However, that certainly doesn’t mean he’s done nothing wrong.
On the contrary…
Buy, Sell, Profit, Lose – Doesn’t Matter
According to CNBC, in his denial of any wrongdoing, “Hoeven said his situation is nothing like that because his colleagues were selling stock, whereas he was buying it.”
Hoeven went on to say – as if it were proof that he’s done nothing wrong – that so far he’s lost money on the investment.
“Gee, it didn’t work out so well for me so that means I didn’t do anything wrong,” is not a legitimate defense. If that logic held, every bank robber who ever got caught would be innocent.
And with Hoeven’s background in the financial industry, it’s inconceivable that he doesn’t understand that.
Buy, sell, make money, lose money – doesn’t matter. Insider information is insider information, and trading on it is illegal.
We Don’t Believe in Coincidences
According to Eric Reed on The Street insider trading is:
“[T]he purchase or sale of a security of any issuer, on the basis of material nonpublic information about that security or issuer, in breach of a duty of trust or confidence that is owed directly, indirectly, or derivatively, to the issuer of that security or the shareholders of that issuer, or to any other person who is the source of the material nonpublic information.”
It would be one hell of a coincidence if Hoeven had received the briefing and then did not use that information when five days later he invested in a fund that “contains shares in medical device and pharmaceutical companies.”
Whatever else happens during this coronavirus crisis, companies that make medical devices and manufacture pharmaceuticals are highly likely to make a lot of money from the federal government if from no one else.
As for the investment advisor telling Hoeven about the health sciences fund, Hoeven didn’t need that guidance. He would have already understood that health sciences stock values were bound to fall with all the rest in the short term, but they’ll be the ones to rebound more quickly when the federal government finally starts responding in earnest, buying the necessary medical equipment and devices that our nation’s frontline healthcare providers so desperately need.
Investing in health sciences stock right now? It’s what financial advisors call a “long-term play.”
Senator Hoeven must think his constituents are very gullible.
Even some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate are now calling for an investigation into all of this by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
That needs to happen, and the commission needs to call out the nonsense that North Dakota’s senior senator is trying to sell.
Note: Senator Diane Feinstein indicated via Twitter that she did not attend the January 24 briefing and that her assets are in a blind trust.
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