Sen. Alfonse D'Amato says a confidential report on how he earned more than $37,000 in a one-day stock trade is "an old story" that is being revived by his political enemies.
"It's obvious to me, given the political drumbeats I hear, there are people looking to embarrass me," the New York Republican said Thursday. "I never objected to the release of that report."The report, prepared for the Securities and Exchange Commission and held under court seal for more than a year, found that a brokerage firm with a history of questionable trading practices gave the lawmaker a special deal, allowing him to make the quick profit.
The report makes no mention of any wrongdoing by D'Amato or the broker, Stratton Oakmont, the Lake Success, N.Y., firm that sought to keep the document under court seal.
The report prepared for the SEC by Charles Loewenson, a special outside consultant overseeing a 1994 settlement with the SEC to resolve allegations that Stratton cheated customers, found that "D'Amato's experience as a Stratton customer is atypical in several ways."
"Stratton's bending of its own rules to service a United States senator who, through his status as senior minority member of the (Senate) Banking Committee, wielded influence over the SEC, raises suspicions about Stratton's motives," Loewenson wrote.
D'Amato has since become chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which regulates banking and financial interests, sets federal policy regulating the industry and oversees the SEC.
D'Amato said any suggestion he'd received special favors was false and a "very speculative, tentative kind of conclusion."
"Almost three years ago, I took the proper actions to avoid even the appearance of impropriety," he said. After his investment was disclosed, D'Amato placed his IRA in a blind trust and ordered the trustee not to invest in any initial public stock offerings.