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The Government Accountability Office struggled to document how much the private government information trade is driving profitable investments. Investigators also failed to get a handle on the industry’s reach.
The SEC and the Justice Department are investigating the trading activity spawned by one firm’s tip to its clients that spurred a rush on health care stocks in early April. But as a single firm comes under scrutiny, more are cropping up, said Michael Mayhew, chairman and director of research at Integrity Research Associates, which tracks the industry.
“It’s almost a ghost industry,” Holman said. “People know it exists, but no one is really sure where.”
The definition of political intelligence remains murky. When contacted by the Star Tribune, several members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation said they had no knowledge of contact with political intelligence workers.
“It’s growing in the shadows,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Congress Watch at Public Citizen. “That’s why the solution is really just transparency.”
Any measure will face resistance from financial companies and other groups arguing that legislation will restrict legitimate activities, Holman and Rosenberg said.
Walz remains resolute. “There should be and must be a way to make it known to these folks that someone is watching,” he said.
Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau. Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell