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Watchdog Group Bites D'Amato Over Stock Trading

[Alfonse D'Amato]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 13) -- A political watchdog group wants a probe of whether Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.) got special treatment from a brokerage firm under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a Senate ethics complaint, the Congressional Accountability Project says D'Amato may have violated Senate rules in his stock trading with the firm, Stratton Oakmont of Lake Success, N.Y.

D'Amato called the ethics complaint "nothing but politics" and denied receiving special treatment.

D'Amato made $37,125 in a single day in "atypical" dealings with the brokerage house in 1993, according to a report in last week's Wall Street Journal.


According to a report prepared for the SEC and obtained by the Journal, Stratton Oakmont violated its own rules to help D'Amato make money in the stock market. D'Amato was allocated a larger number of issues during the start-up of Computer Marketplace Inc. than other customers of the brokerage house, the newspaper reported.

On one trading day, D'Amato purchased 4,500 units of Computer Marketplace shares at $4 a unit and sold them later in the day at $12.25 per unit when they became available to the general public.

Gary Ruskin, the watchdog group's director, told the Associated Press: "Stratton Oakmont gave Senator D'Amato a $37,125 favor at a time when they were in dire need of assistance from the Senate Banking Committee."

At the time, D'Amato was the ranking Republican on the committee and he now chairs it. He also heads the Senate Whitewater Committee, investigating the Clintons.

The Senate Ethics Committee has the responsibility for deciding whether to review D'Amato stock dealings or dismiss the complaint as unfounded.

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