An overwhelming majority of Americans think Congress is incompetent, broken, and hopelessly addicted to maintaining power while acting far too like drunken sophomores on Twitter. And most people believe Capitol Hill can’t do the most basic things even when there’s bipartisan agreement. Hence its 16% approval rate.
On the things-that-should-be-done-but-have-not-for-some-reason-front, legislation exists that would prohibit members of Congress from trading in stocks. It’s called the Congressional Insider Trading Prohibition Act and it would prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks.
For those who live in a sane world lined with logic, this proposition makes perfect sense. Why? Because currently, legislators can pass legislation that creates favorable conditions for certain businesses or industries, and if a legislator knows that this legislation will pass, he could take advantage of it.
Banning stock trading on Capitol Hill is something that even brings Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (DN.Y.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) together, who couldn’t agree on the time that ‘It is. even looking at the same clock.
“We need to be able to assure the American people that they don’t have to worry if they’re competing with their member of the Congressional stock portfolio in order to be heard,” Ocasio said recently. – Cortez. “It’s a pretty simple concept.”
“Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions of shares of companies they are supposed to regulate,” Hawley said. “Here’s something we can do: ban all members of Congress from trading stocks and force those who do to return their profits to the American people.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is a senior congresswoman who seems lukewarm at best about the proposal. When she was first asked about the plan late last year, she was dismissive.
“We are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in [trading stocks]“, she said in December 2021.
Even after a bipartisan backlash, Pelosi has always maintained that she simply didn’t “buy in,” but “if members [of Congress] I want to do this, I’m ok with that.
It sounds like the kind of response an exhausted parent gives to a child asking for a second dessert.
The speaker went on to say that she did not believe this step was necessary because she trusted her colleagues to do the right thing. “I have great faith in the integrity of my members,” Pelosi said. Meanwhile, Gallup finds that only 2% of voters have “great” confidence in Congress.
Now, more eyes are on Paul Pelosi, the House Speaker’s husband. Commercially, he looks like Gordon Gekko’s real-life version of Oliver Stone’s 1987 classic “Wall Street.” His portfolio has significantly outperformed the S&P 500. In 2020 alone, a year where the stock market has been as turbulent as any year in recent memory thanks to the COVID-19 shutdowns, Paul outperformed the S&P 500 by 14.3%, according to Hawley’s office. And according to a New York Post analysis, the Pelosis have earned about $30 million from deals involving Big Tech companies that the Speaker of the House is responsible for regulating.
In fact, Paul is so good that there is an app that lets the public track his stock trades. And for good reason: Pelosi’s reported net worth is more than 114 million dollars, according to OpenSecrets.org. By a Business Insider Report“A large majority of the couple’s wealth comes from stocks, options and investments made by Paul Pelosi.”
In March 2021, Paul Pelosi exercised options to buy 25,000 Microsoft shares worth over $5 million. Less than two weeks later, the US military revealed a $21.9 billion deal buy augmented reality headsets from microsoft. Shares of the company rose sharply after the deal was announced.
For his last purchase in June, Paul Pelosi bought up to $5 million in stock options (equal to 20,000 shares) of Nvidia, a leading semiconductor company. The purchase, first reported by The Daily Caller, comes as Congress is set to vote on legislation later this month that would see $52 billion in grants allocated to elevate the industry from chip production as it faces increased competition from China.
So how does the Speaker of the House explain such a huge purchase by her husband so perfectly timed before this vote?
“These transactions are marked ‘SP’ for Spouse. The president has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions,” his spokesperson said. recently explained.
But if Paul Pelosi makes money on the stock market, wouldn’t his wife benefit too? The explanation inspires little confidence, but at least these exchanges prompt action by the House and Senate to try to prevent it from happening again. A vote is expected as early as Tuesday on the $52 billion bipartisan bill to boost U.S. semiconductor manufacturing while providing tax credits for production.
Meanwhile, Paul Pelosi continues to have the magic touch. On June 17, he exercised 200 call options on Nvidia. The stock closed at $158.80 that day. On Friday, July 22, it closed at 173.19.
Ultimately, members of Congress have access to a lot of sensitive information that can contribute to their serious enrichment.
“The most valuable asset I know is information,” said Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas.
Information about upcoming laws is what members of Congress certainly have. Questions about whether Paul and Nancy Pelosi benefit will only intensify if Congress does not act.
Joe Concha is a media and political columnist.