Call for Investigation to Identify if Anyone Obtained or Used Nonpublic Market-Moving Information for Private Gain
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), today sent letters to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) expressing concern over President Donald Trump's reckless comments on market-moving economic data prior to their public release. The senators noted that this was a violation of federal guidelines and asked the SEC and CFTC to investigate whether any person or corporate entity was able to obtain and use market-moving information before the official release and questioned BLS about the controls it has in place to keep the data confidential. They also pressed the CEA on what additional steps the Administration will take to ensure that no one is taking advantage of the prerelease data for private gain.
"Economic data is made public at a specific time on a specific day to prevent market manipulation," said Senator Bennet. "With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, we need to determine if the President's inappropriate disclosure of highly sensitive information is an isolated incident or representative of a broader trend. If the President cannot muster the discipline to refrain from blurting out information like this, he should no longer have access to it in advance."
On June 1, 2018, President Trump tweeted "Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning," signaling that the employment numbers were positive for the administration and surpassed market expectations. Financial markets reacted immediately following his tweet with yields on the 10-year Treasury note, the dollar index, and stock futures all increasing. The disclosure of this information prior to their official release politicizes economic data and increases the possibility that this inside information could be used for unlawful advantage in the market.
The senators asked the SEC and CFTC to investigate whether or not any individual or entity was able to get information from the President or White House official on any earlier statistical report given prior to release, and if so whether they made any trades or took any other action based on that information. They asked BLS and the CEA to conduct an investigation into what controls are in place to prevent members of the Executive branch from releasing statistical data prior to their official publication and whether or not they were used for this most recent report as well as for reports in the past.