The husband of Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, bought $2.2 million in Tesla stock this month — an investment that comes as a growing number of lawmakers are buying into it a total ban on stock trading for members of Congress and their spouses.

The disclosure could further anger critics from both parties, who argue that such deals pose a conflict of interest because Pelosi and other congressional lawmakers have access to sensitive information and are responsible for enacting laws regulating companies.

Back in January, New York Times reported that Pelosi was trying to squash the bill:

Nancy Pelosi is scrambling to quash bipartisan efforts to ban stock trading by Congressional lawmakers — even as she and her husband have raked in as much as $30 million from bets on the Big Tech firms Pelosi is responsible for regulating.

Late last month, the House Speaker disclosed that the Pelosis scooped up millions in bullish call options for stocks including Google, Salesforce, Micron Technology, and Roblox. At the same, some insiders say she has slow-walked efforts to rein in Big Tech.

Days later, Pelosi brushed off worries over stock picking by lawmakers, claiming it was part of the “free-market economy” — comments that made Democratic insiders “blood boil,” people close to the speaker told The Post.

According to the form, Paul Pelosi, who owns and runs a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, purchased 2,500 shares of the electric car company’s stock by exercising 25 call options at a strike price of $500 per share on March 17. The options were set to expire the next day.

Business Insider reported:

“Pelosi’s financial disclosure indicates that her husband purchased 2,500 shares of Tesla stock on March 17 — then worth nearly $2.2 million — by exercising call options at a strike price of $500 per share. The options were set to expire the next day, according to the disclosure. Tesla stock traded near $1,000 per share on March 23.”

“Tesla, which manufactures electric vehicles and solar panels, spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to lobby the federal government, according to lobbying disclosures compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets. Tesla’s CEO is Elon Musk, the wealthiest person on Earth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.” 

Also, back in January, Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley announced that he is introducing the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act. The bill would prohibit Members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks. Any members found in violation of the bill will be forced to return their profits.

The Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act will:

  • Prohibit Members of Congress and their spouses from holding, acquiring, or selling stocks or equivalent economic interests during their tenure in elected office. Any holdings in diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or U.S. Treasury bonds are exempt from the prohibition.
  • Give Members of Congress and their spouses six months, upon assuming office, to divest any prohibited holdings or place those holdings in a blind trust for the remainder of their tenure in office.
  • Ensure Members or their spouses forfeit any investment profits to the American people via the U.S. Treasury if they are found to be in violation if the Act. Members who violate the requirements will also lose the ability to deduct the losses of those investments on their income taxes. The ethics committees of Congress may levy additional fines and will publicize violations.
  • Require that after two years of the Act’s implementation, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will conduct an audit of Members’ compliance with the Act.

Here’s what Hawley said:

“Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating. Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country. Here’s something we can do: ban all members of Congress from trading stocks and force those who do to pay their proceeds back to the American people. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering.”

Pelosi initially rejected the idea of ​​banning stock trading in Congress, arguing in December that lawmakers should be allowed to participate in a “free market economy.”

After a backlash to those comments, Pelosi reversed course and signaled that she would be open to stricter stock trading rules — including a possible ban.

“To take a blanket stance of ‘we can’t do this and we can’t do this because we can’t be trusted, I just don’t believe that. But if that’s what members want, I’m fine with that,” Pelosi said.

If the proposals to bar lawmakers from trading stocks pass, one could argue Pelosi would rather retire than give up making millions.

Sources: Conservativebrief, The New York Post, Business Insider 

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