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Nader wants renewed probe of Bush stock sale

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said President Bush's response about a 1990 stock sale was
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said President Bush's response about a 1990 stock sale was "not a sufficient answer."  

From Brad Wright
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Consumer advocate Ralph Nader Friday called on the Securities & Exchange Commission to reopen its investigation into President Bush's 1990 sale of Harken Energy stock, just two months before its value sank under the weight of bad earnings reports.

Bush has recently criticized companies for bookkeeping scandals and plans a policy speech on the subject Tuesday.

Bush, who was a member of Harken's audit committee, sold the stock for about $848,000. The SEC at the time investigated for possible insider trading law violations but did not charge Bush.

"I think it would be wise for the SEC ... to reopen that investigation in order to get the full facts before the American people," said Nader, who ran for president against Bush and former Vice President Al Gore. "When President Bush was asked about this by a reporter earlier this week, he brushed it aside, saying the he had been adequately vetted. That's not a sufficient answer."

White House defends Bush handling of stock sale 

Nader said Bush's 1990 stock sale was unethical.

"He engaged in very late filings with the SEC," Nader said. "He sold the stock just before some very damaging news was disclosed."

The White House this week blamed the late filings on a mix-up among corporate lawyers. Bush's representatives in the past had said the SEC lost the documents.

Nader and his group Citizenworks are calling for reforms in the corporate world, including an end to offshore tax shelters, tightening of laws governing corporations' financial reporting and jail time for those who violate them. The group also calls for investors to group together to protect their interests from what it calls predatory and greedy management.


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