As Congress works to reauthorize the Government Securities Act of 1986, those of us in state and local government are strongly urging them to include protections for investors in federal securities in the act.

Why do buyers of federal securities need the same protections already afforded those who invest in corporate and municipal securities? Because the increasing complexity of federal instruments -- ranging from the familiar and safe "plain vanilla" Treasury bills and bonds to the more exotic and risky investments -- has opened the door for unscrupulous persons to engineer deals that are putting taxpayer dollars in jeopardy.

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