Representantes populares que utilizan información privilegiada

CHICAGO – Imagínese que es usted un miembro electo de la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos durante el debate sobre la ley de reforma de servicios de salud que se aprobó en 2010. En una junta de un comité de la Cámara se entera antes que nadie de que no se incluirá una opción de seguro público que se había propuesto –un programa que habría competido con los seguros privados. Esta información tendría un gran impacto en los precios de las acciones de las compañías de atención a la salud. ¿Puede usted realizar operaciones con esas acciones antes de que se publique?

Moralmente es difícil separar este ejemplo de los casos tradicionales de utilización de información corporativa privilegiada. No obstante, ninguna ley prohíbe esa práctica. El Congreso de los Estados Unidos –la rama legislativa del gobierno del país- se exime así mismo efectivamente de las reglas usuales que rigen el uso de la información privilegiada. El Congreso y la Suprema Corte de los Estados Unidos son los únicos órganos federales cuyos empleados pueden comprar y vender acciones, sin restricciones, con base en información que no se ha publicado. Cualquier otro empleado del gobierno de los Estados Unidos que realizara operaciones basándose en el tipo de información privilegiada que hemos descrito estaría actuando de manera ilegal.

Los miembros del Congreso no solo pueden realizar esas operaciones legalmente con base en información confidencial, sino que lo hacen, pese al costo potencial para su reputación. En el programa de televisión 60 minutes se informó hace poco que varios miembros actuales del Congreso supuestamente utilizaron información confidencial que obtuvieron debido a sus cargos para enriquecerse. Si bien el vínculo entre la información privilegiada y las operaciones es difícil de demostrar (como lo es en la mayoría de los casos de utilización de información privilegiada), los tiempos en que se dieron generan sospecha.

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