Former Indiana GOP congressman slapped with insider trading charges by SEC
Former Congressman Stephen Buyer (Official photo)

On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced insider trading charges against former Congressman Stephen Buyer (R-IN).

Buyer, who represented a district in the central part of Indiana, left Congress in 2011 and founded a consulting firm that contracted with telecommunications giant T-Mobile, which lies at the heart of the allegations against him.

"In March 2018, Buyer attended a golf outing with a T-Mobile executive, from whom he learned about the company’s then nonpublic plan to acquire Sprint," said the SEC statement. "Buyer began purchasing Sprint securities the next day, and, ahead of the merger announcement, he acquired a total of $568,000 of Sprint common stock in his own personal accounts, a joint account with his cousin, and an acquaintance’s account. After news of the merger leaked in April 2018, Buyer saw an immediate profit of more than $107,000."

"In 2019, according to the SEC’s complaint, Buyer purchased more than $1 million of Navigant Consulting, Inc. securities ahead of the public announcement that it would be acquired by another one of Buyer’s consulting clients, Guidehouse LLP," the statement continued. "Buyer again spread the purchases across several accounts, including his own accounts, joint accounts with his wife and son, his wife’s personal account, and the same acquaintance’s account involved in the Sprint trading. The complaint alleges that, in August 2019, on the day that the Navigant acquisition was publicly announced, Buyer sold nearly all of the shares he had acquired across the various accounts and profited more than $227,000."

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"We are committed to doing all we can to maintain and enhance public trust by leveling the playing field and holding Buyer accountable for illegally profiting from his access," stated SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir S. Grewal.

The news comes after other members of Congress have faced prosecution for insider trading, including former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), and over 60 more have been found to violate the reporting requirements of the STOCK Act, which is designed to prevent members from trading on nonpublic information while in office. This has resulted in calls for an absolute ban on members of Congress and their immediate families from trading individual stocks.