Nancy Pelosi Accused of Insider Trading $30 Million
There is a growing call to investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) financial activities – in particular insider stock trades that have earned her up to $30 million – as she stands against efforts to ban lawmakers from trading individual stocks.
Ironically, much of Pelosi’s stock market earnings come from bets on Big Tech companies currently under investigation for violating federal antitrust law (such as Facebook, Google, and Apple, and Amazon. Rumor has it she is intentionally slowing efforts to rein in the power of these companies, including a push to prevent Amazon from prioritizing its own products in search results.
“The optics are terrible for her, for the party, and for Congress,” said a Congressional aide. “And it raises serious questions anytime she takes actions or doesn’t act on issues relating to holding these companies accountable.”
Nonetheless, Pelosi says lawmakers should be able to participate in the “free market” just like everyone else and claims that it’s not a conflict of interest to do so – even if a lawmaker has insider information on how new or drafted legislation may affect a company’s stock price.
Considering Pelosi’s habit of beating the S&P 500 (by 5% in 2019 and 14% in 2020) we can assume she has access to this kind of information.
“Sure, it’s a free-market economy, but your average schmuck doesn’t get confidential briefings from government experts chock full of nonpublic information directly related to the price of stocks,” argues Walter Shaub, former director of the US Office of Government Ethics.
The icing on the cake here is that all of Pelosi’s trading is conducted through her husband, Paul. Technically, the House Speaker doesn’t own a single stock.
“As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the Speaker fully cooperates…these transactions are marked ‘SP’ for spouse. The Speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions,” claimed her spokesperson, Drew Hammill.
Funny that many of the companies Paul bets on are companies his wife has been called on to regulate as a lawmaker. The couples’ net worth is said to exceed $100 million.
To date, at least 52 lawmakers are guilty of violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, which allows lawmakers to trade based on insider knowledge as long as they reveal those trades within 45 days. The penalty for violating this rule is a laughable $200 fine that can be waived by a congressional committee.
Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) is in the process of introducing a more severe version of that rule that would prevent lawmakers and their families from trading individual stocks and require them to place assets in blind trusts instead, though he has yet to find a Republican Senator to act as co-sponsor.
“These lawmakers are just out of touch with how normal people view the situation,” says Blake Masters (R), a candidate for Arizona Senator this year. “Members of Congress should not be buying call options on Big Tech companies they’re in charge of regulating, that is ludicrous.”