Financial Disclosure: Paul Pelosi Sold Google Shares Before Announcement of DOJ Antitrust Suit

Paul Pelosi, the multimillionaire husband of Democrat Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, formerly Speaker of the House, sold 30,000 shares of stock in Google just a month prior to the announcement by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant. A financial disclosure of the sale was filed with the House of Representatives. 

Pelosi reported that Google stock was sold in three separate transactions between December 20 and December 28, 2022, which involved the sale of 10,000 stock shares in Alphabet, Inc., Google’s parent company. 

The Periodic Transaction Report was filed with the House, and each transaction involved amounts between $500,001 and $1,000,000, which yielded capital gains of more than $200. However, it remains to be seen how significant the profit was. Altogether, the trades involved between $1.5 million and $3 million of assets and 30,000 shares. 

Eight states and the DOJ announced a lawsuit against Google Tuesday, alleging the company exercised a monopoly over internet search traffic and engaged in anticompetitive behavior. 

“Google’s anticompetitive behavior has raised barriers to entry to artificially high levels, forced key competitors to abandon the market for ad tech tools, dissuaded potential competitors from joining the market, and left Google’s few remaining competitors marginalized and unfairly disadvantaged,” the states and DOJ allege. 

The Pelosi family’s stock transactions have drawn scrutiny in recent years. Before Congress’ passage of the CHIPS Act last year, Paul Pelosi bought between $1 million and $5 million worth of shares of Nvidia. The CHIPS Act was ultimately signed into law and produced roughly $52 billion in subsidies to boost the production of domestic computer chips.

In July, a spokesperson for then-Speaker Pelosi’s office maintained that she “does not own any stocks” and “has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions.”

The spokesperson said Pelosi had asked the House committee responsible for regulating financial disclosures by members to “examine the issue of Members’ unacceptable noncompliance with the reporting requirements in the STOCK Act, including the possibility of stiffening penalties.”

Legislation that would ban Congressional members from trading stocks stalled at the end of the 117th Congress. However, lawmakers have reintroduced proposals in the meanwhile. 

Senator Josh Hawley introduces new trading legislation

This week, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act. The act would ban Congressional lawmakers from stock trading. Hawley tweeted a response to the news about the Pelosi family’s latest stock trade highlighting that Pelosi sold $3 million in Google shares only four weeks before the lawsuit’s announcement.

Efforts to promote transparency into lawmakers’ investments and increase oversight increased after it was revealed that then-Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, suddenly sold hundreds of thousands of dollars from his own investment portfolio after he had a closed-door briefing in February 2020 on the possible impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Burr was investigated over the stock trades by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which ended its probe earlier this month without taking action.

It remains to be seen if the present Congress will hold votes on legislation linked to lawmakers’ and their families’ dealings in the financial markets. One law currently on the books is the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012. It requires lawmakers to report stock trades to Congress within 45 days of a completed transaction. 

The law also prohibits using non-public information for personal profit, including insider trading by members of Congress and other government employees.