Government sponsored insider trading
Several times a month, the Labor Department invites news reporters to a sealed room for an early look at soon-to-be-released reports such as the unemployment rate. One organization attending in recent years stands out from the rest.
Founded by an investment firm and now owned by the Deutsche Börse stock exchange, Need To Know News has operated with an overriding mission: sending data directly from the government through high-speed lines to financial firms that are able to trade on it instantly. Some have paid $375,000 a year for the service.
The ability of such an organization to gain a position at the heart of the government's system for releasing economic reports turns on its head an embargo arrangement created decades ago to give writers time to digest complex data and produce reports for broad public dissemination. . . .