My colleague Alex Byers and I report on today’s Hill activity:
North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad railed against the Washington Post this morning for implying that he was involved in inappropriate stock trading.
In an article and accompanying graphic published as part of the Post’s Capitol Assets series, the paper reported that Conrad’s wife shifted money out of three mutual funds just a day after Conrad spoke on the phone with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, suggesting a link between the two events.
Conrad didn’t deny that either event took place, only that the Post’s graphic implied causality: ”The story said my wife and I shifted savings in her retirement accounts from mutual funds to lower-risk money market accounts on August 14 of 2007. That is true,” Conrad said. “They showed that we made those changes a day after a call from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to me. That is also true.”
“But their suggestion that the two are related is absolutely false,” he said. “If you read the whole story, much of the context is there, but the graphics — which, of course, is what most people are drawn to — have none of the context and don’t have a timeline that is any way is fair.”
The real reason for the trades, Conrad says, was an almost 400-point drop in the Dow Jones the day before. (Conveniently, he had a number of Washington Post headlines from the time to use as evidence.)
The Post is standing by its reporting — and, presumably, its graphics team — and says the two events do create the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“We stand by our facts. Sen. Conrad’s comments simply reinforce the point of our story, which is that Congress’s unwillingness to abide by the same conflicts of interest rules that officials in the administration or many people in the private sector do can result in the appearance of conflicts of interest. This is such an instance,” Kris Coratti, a Post spokesperson, told POLITICO. “Additionally, Senator Conrad’s response was included in both the story and the graphic to which he is referring.”
In his remarks, Conrad said he had “great respect
You can read the rest of this article at: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/06/sen-conrad-defends-against-washpost-report-127345.html