Over the past several months, The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on government officials who profit from their cozy relations with the private businesses they regulate or that otherwise fall within their jurisdictions.

As reported on Dec. 30, most of the officials’ personal financial gains arise from “insider trading,” the presumptively illegal buying or selling of publicly traded stock based on not-yet-public information about pending regulatory intervention to which the market will respond (either positively or negatively) after the action is announced. Bureaucrats and politicians are poster child “insiders” who know what public policies are being devised and can easily predict their effects on company profitability.

In 2021, for example, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation initiated a process to select its primary provider of cloud data storage services. Microsoft was one of the vendors being considered. According to The Journal, “three key officials involved in the discussions, or their family members, owned shares in Microsoft, including the deputy chief information officer who pushed to pick the company.” Lo and behold, Microsoft was chosen and the insiders, along with all other owners, saw an uptick in the company’s stock price, which they could cash in on immediately by selling their shares.