Hmm... would it be considered going overboard if I were to suggest filling a huge industrial-sized vat with acid and slowly lowering a representative (that's a pun!) "sampling" of Washington D.C.politicians into it until no more can fit?
* * * * *
In the course of his Senate career, Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee has made many short-term trades in shares of a little-known Chattanooga real-estate company.
Until recently, he hadn’t made public a dozen stock purchases in the firm, including several that resulted in his most profitable investments.
In one previously unknown purchase, Mr. Corker purchased between $1 million and $5 million in shares of the firm, CBL & Associates Properties Inc., in late 2011 and sold them five months later for a 42% gain.
A pair of purchases in 2009 in accounts in the name of his daughters likely netted more than $1 million, though in that case the exact gain is impossible to calculate.
* IN THE NAME OF HIS DAUGHTERS...?!?!
The trades are among the CBL stock purchases that Mr. Corker disclosed only recently after questions from The Wall Street Journal about apparent discrepancies in his Senate financial-disclosure reports.
* "APPARENT DISCREPANCIES," HUH?
Congressional ethics rules require lawmakers to make public their financial investments in broad ranges each year.
* YES... VERY BROAD RANGES...
Some of Mr. Corker’s newly disclosed trades came during a period of heightened scrutiny of financial investments by members of Congress and as Mr. Corker was preparing to run for re-election in 2012.
In a written statement to the Journal last week, Mr. Corker said he was “extremely disappointed in the filing errors that were made in these earlier reports where the accounting firm mistakenly used realized gain/loss methodology instead of the Senate financial disclosure guidelines.”
As a result of the mistakes, Mr. Corker said, “in a few cases, only the sale and gain or loss of the transaction was reported. As a result of this inquiry, and after completing a full review, we are correcting this oversight.”
* "FILING ERRORS..." "OVERSIGHTS." "MISTAKES."
Congressional ethics rules allow lawmakers to invest in just about any company, as long as they aren’t trading based on inside information and they disclose their investments. Lawmakers contend they should be allowed to trade stocks, because a ban would “insulate a legislator from the personal and economic interests that his or her constituency, or society in general, has in governmental decisions and policy,” as the rules put it.
There are no penalties for making fixes to disclosures, a frequent occurrence, because ethics regulators want to encourage lawmakers to correct mistakes.
* TO... Er... "CORRECT" THE "MISTAKES" THAT ARE... UM... DISCOVERED...
(*LAUGHING OUT LOUD*)
The new disclosures are the latest twist in Mr. Corker’s history with CBL, a publicly traded company that he knows well. After college, he worked for a company that constructed buildings for CBL. He later started his own construction company and then invested in shopping malls and office buildings. Several CBL executives have donated to his campaigns. CBL didn’t respond to requests for comment.
On entering the Senate in 2007, Mr. Corker had a diverse portfolio including hundreds of widely owned Fortune 500 corporations. In recent years, CBL has been one of the few stocks he has traded.
Mr. Corker has bought or sold CBL stock 45 times. His wife and two daughters made 25 additional CBL trades in accounts in their names, according to Mr. Corker’s office and his financial-disclosure forms.
Mr. Corker made between $1 million and $5 million on CBL trades in both 2010 and 2012, the disclosures show. However, he could have lost money in other years; senators are required to disclose annual profits, but not losses, on investments.
In 2011, the Journal published a story that mentioned Mr. Corker’s frequent trading in CBL. In a statement for that story, he said he had “watched the trading range on this hometown-based stock” and “found that especially during times of market volatility it trades within wide ranges.” He added: “I’ve bought it heavily when it is at the low end of that range and then I hold it until there is upward movement, when I sell.”
Mr. Corker’s spokeswoman, Tara DiJulio, said the CBL investments “have been public dating back to 2007, and he even discussed with The Wall Street Journal in a 2011 interview how he watches the volatility of this stock.”
Mr. Corker’s successful strategy was on display in March 2009 — in one of the previously undisclosed trades — when CBL stock traded near its low of $2.07. On March 9, 2009, accounts in the name of Mr. Corker’s daughters made a pair of purchases of CBL stock worth a total of $200,000 to $500,000.
* ARE WE TALKING MONEY LAUNDERING...???
The first time any CBL shares were sold from that account, on May 12, 2010, the stock had risen more than seven-fold to about $16. That trade very likely netted a gain of at least $1 million.
* NICE "WORK" IF YOU CAN GET IT! I GUESS THE ENTIRE FAMILY ARE JUST BRILLIANT... Er... INVESTORS.
Mr. Corker’s office said losses on other CBL trades in his children’s accounts in 2010 wiped out that gain. The same accounts had paid about $24 a share for more than $2 million of CBL shares in 2008, and those trades most likely suffered significant losses.
Other previously disclosed trades successfully took advantage of movements in the company’s stock. In three June and July 2010 trades, Mr. Corker bought a total of between $3 million and $15 million in CBL shares. The day after the last trade, the stock rose when investment-research firm UBS Securities said it was upgrading its outlook. From July 7 to July 26, when Mr. Corker started to sell the stock, it was up 18.3%.
Disclosure records show Mr. Corker sold two stakes worth a total of between $2 million and $10 million on July 26 and 27. The following week, UBS issued another analysis, this time downgrading the stock. The share price declined about 10% over the following week.
UBS declined to comment on the matter.
Other investment analysts were split in their projections of CBL stock.
Some of Mr. Corker’s investments coincided with a time of scrutiny over lawmakers’ investments. In November 2011, CBS’s “60 Minutes” broadcast an investigation into stock trading by lawmakers, giving momentum to a long-stalled bill that made it illegal for lawmakers to trade stocks based on inside information.
* YEP. IT USED TO BE LEGAL! (FOLKS... YA CAN'T MAKE THIS $HIT UP!)
For one of Mr. Corker’s most-profitable trades, it was impossible until recently to calculate the return on his investment. His original financial disclosure for 2011 indicated he didn’t own CBL stock at the end of the year. That turned out to be incorrect.
* UH-HUH. "INCORRECT." IT... Er... "TURNED OUT TO BE" INCORRECT.
In August 2013, he filed an amendment saying that at the end of 2011, he owned shares worth between $1 million and $5 million. However, the senator didn’t disclose the precise date of the purchase or the amount of the transaction. After being contacted by the Journal in October, Mr. Corker’s office filed an amendment showing that he bought $1 million to $5 million of CBL stock on Nov. 29, 2011. The stock rose 6.7% the next day and, over the following months, it rose steadily, buttressed by a number of positive events.
* "AFTER BEING CONTACTED BY THE J0URNAL..."
Mr. Corker sold his entire CBL stake for between $5 million and $25 million in May 2012, according to the filings. The sale of the stock purchased on Nov. 29 netted him a profit of somewhere between $420,000 and $2.1 million.