Clearing Up The Record On Hillary's Trades

Your article regarding Hillary Clinton's commodity trading, "The more Hillary tries to explain..." (Up Front, July 4) is both unfair and inaccurate.

You assert that her initial trade, a short sale, "seems to contradict" her "claim" at her Apr. 22 press conference that she began trading because a close friend predicted a bull market. The innuendo is reinforced by a quote from a "Merc insider" that it is "unheard mf for a novice to go short on a first trade."

There is no contradiction whatsoever between her first trade and what she said to the news media. A general belief that there will be a cattle shortage does not mean that every trade should be a long one. It is ludicrous to state categorically that a beginning trader fever sells short.

You state, correctly, that it has been widely reported that her initial trade was undermargined, but, in order to justify a rehash of this reporting, you claim it has been "overlooked" that half of her initial investment could have gone for commissions. There is nothing "new" about this "news," since this was part of the risk in being undermargined.

Finally, you say "the Merc has not released all the records it has on Mrs. Clinton's trades." This is simply false. I asked for, and was told I was given, all the information the Merc had on her trades. What you [are referring to] is data for other people. There are legal constraints on the release of personal financial information regarding commodity trading. Mrs. Clinton has voluntarily sought and made public her own trading records at the Merc, even though she had not previously seen them and was under no legal compulsion to do so. She went the extra mile in seeing that they were made public, once their existence became known. Fair reporting would have provided this context.

David E. Kendall

Williams & Connolly


Editor's note: Information concerning customers on the other end of Clinton's trades could determine whether she received preferential treatment from her broker, e.g., crediting her with profitable trades and assigning losses to other customers.