- Chicago Sun Times
As U.S. stock markets plummeted last September, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, sold more than $115,000 worth of stocks and mutual-fund shares and used much of the money to invest in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The Illinois senator's 2008 financial disclosure statement shows he sold mutual-fund shares worth $42,696 on Sept. 19, the day after then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged congressional leaders in a closed meeting to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. The same day, he bought $43,562 worth of Berkshire Hathaway's Class B stock, the disclosure shows.
Altogether, Durbin sold investments worth $116,000 in September. By Oct. 2, he had invested $98,046 in Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway, the form shows.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index plunged 4.7 percent last Sept. 15 after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bank of America Corp.'s government-engineered takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. By the end of October, the index had fallen 22.6 percent.
"Durbin was doing what a lot of other people were doing, taking a look at their savings" and seeing it "start to tank and trying to preserve some level of wealth by getting out of the market," said his spokesman, Joe Shoemaker.
Shoemaker said Durbin didn't capitalize on anything Paulson and Bernanke told congressional leaders at the Sept. 18 meeting.
Whatever information Paulson gave lawmakers wasn't secret or classified and was disclosed publicly the next day, Shoemaker said.
If that's the case, then release the minutes.