Mark Lennihan / AP

Earlier this week the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed enforcement actions against 27 individuals and entities that had used sites like Seeing Alpha, Forbes and Yahoo Finance to post "bullish articles" about listed biotech companies "under the guise of impartiality when in reality they were nothing more than paid advertisements."

What happened: Now we've learned more about how the scam first came to the SEC's attention, per a source familiar with the situation:

  • In 2013, a Seeking Alpha contributor named Richard Pearson was contacted by a self-described investor relations firm, asking him to write paid promotional articles about a publicly-traded biotech companies Galena Biopharma and CytRx, without disclosing the payments (which would be a violation of Seeking Alpha policy).
  • Pearson played along to learn more about the scam, submitting a few dummy articles. He then submitted everything he had learned not only the Seeking Alpha, but also to the SEC. He also would later make his top-line allegations public via a Seeking Alpha post.
  • Seeking Alpha immediately launched an internal investigation, removing dozens of articles and tightening up its contributor requirements (none of the publishers were charged by the SEC). It also provided information to the Agency, which managed to identify several fraudsters that website had been unable to pin down.

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Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Science

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.