(East Memphis) About 20 years ago, a group of marketing students at the University of Memphis found something shocking.
It seemed members of congress were buying stock in companies that did a lot of business with the government then voted for contracts with those companies.
Last year, it resulted in a law banning the practice.
U of M professor, Dr. Greg Boller was thrilled, ”It’s about time. 20 years, a long time to actually see something unfold, so everybody was very encouraged.”
His class research led to investigative stories on ABC News and on CBS 60 Minutes.
Others looked into the situation to the point Congress couldn’t hide, and took action to clean up the problem.
That is, until April, when President Obama signed a repeal of the law as it applies to all but top government staffers and Congress. Observers fear Congress will exempt itself next.
What triggered the sudden change?
A government-commissioned study concluded releasing information about government officials’ financial holdings was, get this, a security risk!
Though he’s no security expert, Boller doubts the level of risk ,”I read the arguments about that and I don’t find them compelling at all.”
Boller says he’s not one bit surprised at lawmaker’s sudden about-face, ”Congress is interested in making sure that they are the ones to be accountable to themselves. That’s really what it is.”
He says that’s bad government, and against the spirit of the Constitution, ”They’re really unhappy when ordinary citizens, in particular people in your business finally have a tool where they can hold them accountable. They don’t want that.”
So, the political storm that started in a Memphis classroom, continues.