Did Allen Get a Bum Rap on the Stock Options? No.

Here’s the pro-George Allen take on the options issue.

Its main claims are (1) that the options were riding high before he was in the Senate, but near-zero by the time Allen took office; (2) that Allen’s assistance to the company that issued the options was pretty small stuff, quite routine; (3) Allen disclosed the options in his first filing, then relied on advice that there was no need to do so any more.

Compare these claims to the AP/Washington Post version of the facts:

Allen disclosed the options once _ on an amendment to his 2000 ethics report filed three months after the normal filing period ended. He excluded the options from subsequent reports.

When AP showed Allen’s lawyer the Senate ethics manual requirement that such options must be reported each year regardless of value, the lawyer said he was unfamiliar with that provision. Allen has now asked the Senate ethics committee for an opinion on whether he should have disclosed them.

So: Excuse #1 makes little sense: if the options are still alive, the holder has an interest in helping the company gain value to the point where they are in the money.

Excuse #2 is half right: What we know Allen did for the company on office time does in fact sound pretty routine. But the disclosure requirements don’t have an exception for just routine assistance. And in any case this wasn’t just some arms-length relationship, but a deep and complex financial relationship.

Excuse #3 is weird. If Allen had a blessing from the ethics committee staff why is he asking for an opinion now? And why would the staff give their blessing to what seems like a violation of the rules? And did Allen really think the company was dead beyond repair by 2001? It didn’t file for bankruptcy reorganization until July 2005. So see excuse #1…

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