When Officeholders Are Stockholders, Watch Out

Your article on congressmen who own stock in companies influenced by congressional decisions ("How are you voting? What are your stocks?", Finance, Aug. 28) was timely and hard-hitting. The continued success of free markets and vigorous capital formation in our nation depends on honesty and fairness by those we elect. When scalawags are content to profit from such conflict-of-interest situations, as you report, it is high time for the voters to toss them out of office.

Jake Schwartz

Petaluma, Calif.

Although your article on congressional trading was insightful and pointed out real examples where conflict of interest was obvious, using Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.) as one of the "star" perpetrators weakened the story. It seems far-fetched to me that Senator Nickles would introduce a bill and go through all the hassles, possible backlash, and so on for a $6,500 investment. It's more likely that he introduced the bill because Oklahoma--with its large oil-and-gas industry struggling to compete with rivals abroad--would benefit. The other examples you cited, which involved tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, seemed much more plausible.

Marjorie A. Holt

Orem, Utah

If 14-year-old Sam Bond [who owns up to $15,000 in McDonnell Douglas stock] did not have insider information from his father, Senator Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) [who sits on the Senate subcommittee that sets defense spending], I will eat my broker's hat.

Emily Gordon

Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

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