Lawmaker Bachus cleared in insider trade probe

WASHINGTON Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:04pm EDT

File photo of House Financial Services Committee ranking member Spencer Bachus (R-AL) speaks during the Reuters Washington Summit September 23, 2010. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

File photo of House Financial Services Committee ranking member Spencer Bachus (R-AL) speaks during the Reuters Washington Summit September 23, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An ethics investigation has found no evidence of insider trading violations involving Representative Spencer Bachus, the chairman of the U.S. House committee that oversees financial markets, his office said on Monday.

The board of the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent agency, recommended on Friday that the House Ethics Committee dismiss allegations raised in media reports that Bachus may have used non-public information to make investments.

Some of the transactions in question reportedly occurred at the height of the 2007-08 financial crisis when Bachus was the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee. At the time, he had attended briefings on the faltering economy with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Bachus, now chairman of the Financial Services panel, maintained vigorously throughout the investigation begun last year that he had done nothing wrong.

"The OCE's unanimous dismissal of these false allegations is a welcome conclusion to a destructive and disruptive, media generated assault," the Alabama Republican said.

"It has been a long, painful, and frustrating experience to have a reputation built over many years sullied by untrue accusations," Bachus said.

The OCE declined to comment when asked about its decision.

Prompted by the political storm over allegations against Bachus and other members, President Barack Obama signed legislation in March that put new curbs on the ability of lawmakers to trade on insider information.

(Reporting By John Crawley and David Clarke; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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