But, in the end, I’m not sure what that adds up to. The Journal points out that in a press release late last month, Sen. Gillibrand “praised the effort to ‘rein in excessive risk and leverage in the pursuit of short-term profits.’” Asked about that in the light of her husband’s trades, a spokesman explained that she was talking about institutions that were leveraging more than 20 to one, “using taxpayer money on extremely risky short-term bets rather than long-term strategies that benefit the broader economy.”

The Journal talks to an excellent arbiter of congressional ethics, former Rep. Joel Hefley (R., Colo.), who led the House Ethics Committee for a time. Hefley says this kind of trading by lawmakers and there spouses doesn’t look good. But even he concedes, “You can’t have people not using their best judgment on their investment portfolio.”

Like I said, good instinct. But the Journal just didn’t find that much.

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Holly Yeager is CJR's Peterson Fellow, covering fiscal and economic policy. She is based in Washington and reachable at holly.yeager@gmail.com.