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When Insider Trading Meets Insider Politics

June 16, 2003

In "The Spin She's In" (Commentary, June 11), regarding the prosecution of Martha Stewart, Michael P. Malloy states, "Under our system of civil and criminal law, we are held responsible for what we do, not who we are." How, then, does Malloy explain that Kenneth Lay, a good friend of President Bush, has escaped prosecution for encouraging his employees to buy Enron stock, even as he used his insider knowledge to sell off his own shares?

More important, how does he explain how Bush himself was not prosecuted for using insider knowledge to sell off his Harken Energy stock before prices fell? Maybe because the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman at the time was appointed by his dad, while the SEC's general counsel was a Bush family attorney? The fact is that, with friends in the right places, prosecution is determined not by what we do, but who we know.

Jan Ducker

Sylmar

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