Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason told an online conservative conference last month that wearing a wire for the FBI is “definitely not a fun thing,” and blamed his primary opponent in the race to represent Alabama’s 6th Congressional district for the current federal budget woes and economic recession.
“I think if you’re trading on inside information, on non-public information, that’s a serious offense,” Beason told LaDonna Curzon, who interviewed Beason for GrizzlyFest, an online conference inspired by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s attack on corruption. Beason was referring to his primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, who is currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for allegations of insider trading.
“And on top of that, say there’s nothing illegal,” Beason said. “He specifically bet against the American people. He bought options that said if the market went in the tank, he’s going to make big profits.”
Bachus, a Vestavia Hills Republican and the 6th Congressional district representative since 1993, has denied allegations that he participated in insider trading, but he was one of several lawmakers whose market trades were questioned in a book by Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at a Stanford University conservative think tank, the Hoover Institution. The book, Throw Them All Out, was featured in Nov. on 60 Minutes.
Schweizer wrote that in 2008 Bachus, then a member of the House financial services committee (he is now the chair of that committee), was privy to confidential briefings about the state of the economy and he made trades on issues he would have been briefed on, such as the 2008 economic collapse and the passage of the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
“These meetings were so sensitive that they would actually confiscate cell phones and Blackberries going into those meetings,” Schweizer said on 60 Minutes. “What we know is that those meetings were held one day and literally the next day Congressman Bachus would engage in buying stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had the day before from the Fed chairman and treasury secretary. I mean, talk about a stock tip.”
“If the person who wrote the book, Schweizer, is not being accurate, then why don’t you sue him, Congressman?” Beason said in the interview. “But, uh, you’re a lawyer—you used to be a lawyer, you know how it goes.”
Beason (R-Gardendale) said House Speaker John Boehner should ask Bachus to step down as chair of the financial services committee. “I think at least he should ask him to step down until the investigation’s over,” Beason said.
Beason also blamed Bachus and his “cohorts” for the nation’s economic woes.
“My thing is, he and his cohorts are absolutely responsible for the huge debts we have now,” Beason said. The budget woes began during the George W. Bush administration, Beason said, when Bachus and friends approved “budget after budget.”
“They have put us in the financial straits we’re in, they are responsible for the tremendous slowdown in the economy. He was on the House Financial Services when Fannie May and Freddie Mac were given such tremendous rein and helped bring the housing market crashing down,” Beason said.
Beason was one of several guests interviewed as part of a segment of the conference called “Corruption Busters.” Beason touted his experience wearing a wire and recording conversations for a federal investigation that led to the Alabama gambling corruption trial, known colloquially as the bingo trial. He told the interviewer that the corruption investigation was tough on him and his family.
“It’s not fun,” Beason said. “It’s gonna be tough on your family, especially if it all goes to trial. We’ve been through all those things now. But I just thought it was the right thing to do, and that’s what we tell people we’ll do when we run for office. It’s just unfortunate that a lot of elected officials turn a blind eye to things like that.”
During Beason’s testimony in the first trial, defense attorneys revealed that Beason recorded himself referring to Greene county blacks as “aborigines” and scheming with other Republicans to lessen the black vote. The trial ended in a mistrial in August, and two of the nine defendants were acquitted. After the first trial, the federal judge presiding over the case all but called Beason a racist and accused him of manipulating the Justice Department to kneecap his political opponents.
Beason was not called to testify in the retrial.