It’s not yet clear if there’s been any wrongdoing in the wild west kind of Wall Street trading that activist investors have participated in while buying up stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.
That said, as Albany Law Professor Christine Chung told Capital Tonight, "where’s there’s money and power, there’s bound to be politics."
And politics means investigations, especially when members of the donor class, like hedge fund billionaires, start losing money.
In this case, Chung said, politics could influence who gets investigated, and which level of government does the investigating.
As of today, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators are "combing social media and message board posts for signs that fraud."
On the state level, New York Attorney General Tish James is reviewing activity on the stock-trading app Robinhood after the company "drew harsh backlash Thursday for restricting the trading of several stocks that were promoted on a Reddit forum."
Chung, who is a former Branch Chief of the Enforcement Division of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, told Capital Tonight that AG James’ power to investigate is enhanced in New York by the Martin Act, which gives the office broad powers to investigate suspected securities fraud.
You may remember that when former Governor Eliot Spitzer held the Attorney General’s position, he wielded the Martin Act against some of Wall Street’s most powerful players.