The best thing about "60 Minutes" in the Dan Rather/Mike Wallace glory days was when the reporters would just show up someplace with a film crew and start asking uncomfortable questions. Watch 'em squirm!
This past weekend, Steve Kroft took a page out of that playbook and turned the cameras on...Members of Congress! The issue is insider trading — or maybe more accurately, trading on "non-public" knowledge. The Congress has ethical rules about insider trading, but it exempts lawmakers from...well, the laws that govern people in corporate life.
This is TV, of course. So take what you see with a grain of well-edited salt. But the members that Kroft and the CBS cameras track down don't really come off looking too good, even if they may have done nothing wrong. What's disturbing is their collective "What, me worry?" reaction to the simple inquiry. You're seriously telling us that you don't know this is kinda sorta going on, even as you enter Congress with investment portfolios?
Also, the members spend a fair amount of time running away from Kroft. Who's been on TV for years. But I guess fleeing a "60 Minutes" crew is just an ingrained response among the political class.
National Review's Daniel Foster proposes an easy out: "...putting MOCs’ assets in blind trusts during their terms of office...is a reasonable fix. The president has to. A number of executive officials have to. Why shouldn’t the congress-critters? Anyone think that’s wrong?"
As the "60 Minutes" report points out, this problem, such as it is, has been addressed, by an actual bill that would set up blind trusts. It's just that the bill hasn't got no respect. Ever.
I'm shocked. But the former congressman who has co-sponsored the bill does me one better. He cracks up laughing.