Mark Lennihan / AP

Hundreds of articles published on top financial news sites were authored by individuals being paid to promote certain biotech stocks, according to enforcement actions announced today by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Such payments were not disclosed to readers, nor apparently to the sites themselves.

The charges: The SEC alleges that 27 individuals and entities "posted bullish articles about [publicly-traded] companies on the Internet under the guise of impartiality when in reality they were nothing more than paid advertisements." So far the SEC has settled with 17 of those charged ― with disgorgement and penalties ranging from $2,200 to nearly $3 million ― while it remains in litigation with the other 10.

What sites? Seeking Alpha, Forbes, TheStreet, Yahoo Finance, The Motley Fool, Benzinga, Minyanville, WallStCheatSheet, Small Cap Network, Investor Village and Market Playground. None of the sites are named in the charges.

Why it matters: Many financial sites publish contributed articles with little editorial oversight, as a way to increase volume. That makes it incumbent on readers to do their own research on authors, particularly if using the posts as the basis for stock trading decisions.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 32,844,146 — Total deaths: 994,208 — Total recoveries: 22,715,726Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,078,798 — Total deaths: 204,497 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

Graham hopes his panel will approve Amy Coney Barrett by late October

Sen. Lindsey Graham during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News Saturday he expects confirmation hearings on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court to start Oct. 12 and for his panel to approve her by Oct. 26.

Why it matters: That would mean the final confirmation vote could take place on the Senate floor before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Texas city declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

Characteristics associated with a case of amebic meningoencephalitis due to Naegleria fowleri parasites. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Texas authorities have issued a warning amid concerns that the water supply in the southeast of the state may contain the brain-eating amoeba naegleria fowleri following the death of a 6-year-old boy.

Details: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a "do not use" water alert Friday for eight cities, along with the Clemens and Wayne Scott Texas Department of Criminal Justice corrections centers and the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport. This was later lifted for all places except for Lake Jackson, which issued a disaster declaration Saturday.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!