I made a lot of money on the election. Most of that money I cashed out. But I left a small balance in case I saw another opportunity to bet against the prevailing wisdom.
I saw that opportunityt last night.
My PredictIt Success
In January 2016, I bought three kinds of shares on PredictIt, the prediction market.
- Trump would win the Republican nomination.
- Trump would win the White House.
- Republicans would control both houses of Congress and the White House.
The first two shares were trading around 10 cents each. The third around 20 cents.
I set up a scheme to mitigate my risks. I immediately offered to sell my shares in each pool according to this formula:
- Sell 25% of shares when the price reaches 25 cents
- Sell 50% of shares when the price reaches 50 cents
- Sell 15% of shares when the price reaches 75 cents
- Sell the last 10% of shares when the price reaches 99 cents (maximum)
Yes, I could have made slightly more by holding everything for 99 cents. But there’s always a chance that wouldn’t happen. So I hedged a bit.
The result: I made a lot of money. About 4x my investment in 10 months. Try to get that from your 401k.
Today, I used that balance to buy 100 shares of YES on the question “Will a federal criminal charge be filed against James Comey in 2017?”
Since I’m playing with house money, it’s a safe bet. And it keeps getting safer with every bit of news out of Washington. Plus, the opinions of leading criminal lawyers.
What a Top Lawyer Says about Comey
Let’s look at the lawyer first.
Jonathan Turley is a famous lawyer. You see him on TV discussing big, complicated cases. He’s well respected in the lawyer world.
Turley sees James Comey’s recent testimony as a very bad move by Comey. For two reasons that will haunt Comey for the rest of his life:
- Comey admitted that he let Trump’s tweets bait him into
- releasing privileged information in violation of federal law.
The first admission shows Comey to be an emotional showboat. Comey displayed the kind of selfish immaturity that destroys careers. Political careers, legal careers, cop careers, even doctor careers. Any kind of career comes crashing down when you let your emotions, especially emotions involving pride, dictate your actions.
Comey Committed Character Suicide
As Turley explains:
The greatest irony is that Trump succeeded in baiting Comey to a degree that even Trump could not have imagined. After calling Comey a “showboat” and poor director, Comey proceeded to commit an unethical and unprofessional act in leaking damaging memos against Trump.
Indeed. To anyone who has a neutral position on Trump, Trump totally won Thursday. He won because Trump’s actions in this matter were entirely consistent with Trump’s character. We have come to expect Trump to tweet outlandish statements in the middle of the night. Trump haters complain about this behavior. They say it’s a character flaw. But at least he’s consistent.
Comey was the FBI Director. Most people think of the FBI Director as a sober, thoughtful, and careful person. Someone skilled at tempering his emotions and behaving rationally. Someone free from fits of intemperate actions in the middle of the night.
So, what did Comey do when Trump tweeted about him? Comey got up in the middle of the night and leaked privileged information to a friend for the purpose of damaging the president.
In other words, Comey broke character to play tit-for-tat with Trump.
That’s the end of Comey as a rational, temperate lawyer. We all know he’s not. But where’s the crime in what Comey did?
Comey Likely Committed Multiple Crimes
Besides being subject to nondisclosure agreements, Comey falls under federal laws governing the disclosure of classified and unclassified information. Assuming that the memos were not classified (though it seems odd that it would not be classified even on the confidential level), there is 18 U.S.C. § 641, which makes it a crime to steal, sell, or convey “any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof.”
Comey literally admitted under oath to willfully violating 18 U.S.C § 641. His notes, recorded on an FBI system, were the property of the government. A record of value in an ongoing investigation. Which Comey stole and conveyed for personal gain. In this case, his gain was reputation. But it was a gain, nonetheless.
And it gets worse as Turley digs deeper into the law:
One such regulation is § 2635.703, on the use of nonpublic information, which states, “An employee shall not engage in a financial transaction using nonpublic information, nor allow the improper use of nonpublic information to further his own private interest or that of another, whether through advice or recommendation, or by knowing unauthorized disclosure.”
Turley also finds that Comey violated his FBI contract:
The standard FBI employment agreement bars the unauthorized disclosure of information “contained in the files, electronic or paper, of the FBI” that impact the bureau and specifically pledges that “I will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.”
And Comey violated legal ethics which could result in disbarment:
Comey is also subject to bar rules on releasing information inimical to the interests of his former employer. For example, under professional rule 1.6, lawyers need to secure authority to release information that “(1) reveal a confidence or secret of the lawyer’s client; (2) use a confidence or secret of the lawyer’s client to the disadvantage of the client; [or] (3) use a confidence or secret of the lawyer’s client for the advantage of the lawyer or of a third person.”
Comey Indictment a Safe Bet
Add it all up, and it looks like Nut Job Comey is the emotional wreck Trump told us he was. Trump was right about Comey all along.
That’s why my 100 shares of PredictIt stock look like a great investment right now. In the coming days, special investigator Robert Mueller will announce he’s expanding his investigation to look into Comey’s actions. By Christmas, Comey will cop a plea.
It’s going to be a very bad year for anti-Trump.
UPDATE: The price on YES went down to 8 cents, so I bought 40 more shares. :-)