Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is scrambling to put down bipartisan efforts to ban stock trading by Congressional leaders. This comes after Pelosi, and her husband made up to $30 million from investments in Big Tech firms that she is responsible for regulating.
Recently, the House Speaker disclosed that the Pelosis collected millions in call options for stocks, including Micron Technology, Google, Salesforce, and Roblox.
Pelosi’s dividends and capital gains from their holdings in five Big Tech firms — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple — earned the Pelosis at least $5.6 million and as much as $30.4 million between 2007 and 2020, according to publicly available disclosures and analysis.
Days after information was released, Pelosi brushed off lawmakers’ concerns over stock picking, claiming it was part of the “free-market economy.”
The brush-off reportedly made Democrat leaders’ “blood boil.”
According to Jeff Hauser, progressive Democrat and director and founder of the Revolving Door Project, “Key policymakers can be rich, but they shouldn’t own individual companies.”
Stock picking by elected officials “gets worrisome about whether legislators have access to insider information or whether your stock purchases will consciously or unconsciously impact policymaking,” Hauser told the Post.
Pelosi is one of the wealthiest members of Congress with an reported estimated net worth of more than $106 million.
Although there is no “smoking gun” showing the Pelosi’s have traded utilizing insider information, their portfolio has frequently outperformed the S&P 500, leading critics to question whether Pelosi and other politicians keep the public’s best interest in mind when legislating.
According to Post reports, the Pelosis’ overall portfolio beat the S&P 500 by 4.9 percent in 2019 and 14.3 percent in 2020 after an analysis by FinePrint.
Conflict of interest?
When Speaker Pelosi was asked whether the opportunity to profit from trades could create a conflict of interest, Pelosi has flatly replied, “no.”
She has also rejected calls to ban trading individual stocks.
According to Representative Michael Cloud, R-Texas, who is pushing two bills that would band stock trading by members of Congress, said, “We should be held to a higher standard. When the public sees people in office profiting off [stock trading], when they’re struggling, it does a great disservice to everything that this nation should be about.”
Previously, Pelosi praised antitrust legislation saying, “There has been concern on both sides of the aisle about the consolidation of power of the tech companies, and this legislation is an attempt to address that.”
However, privately, Rep. Pelosi has continued her relationships with Big Tech executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook. “The optics are terrible for her, for the party, and Congress,” according to a Democratic insider, “And it raises questions anytime she takes action or doesn’t act on issues relating to holding these companies accountable. It’s not a good look for the Speaker of the House to simultaneously profit directly from the companies she is supposed to rein in,” said another source.
In the past, Pelosi has conceded that members of Congress should follow the rules and quickly report trades but continues to insist that they should “be able to participate” in the stock market.