(TheRedWire.com) – For decades, members of Congress used legislation, or threats of legislative action, to bolster the stock value of companies. Their dirty secret was the fact that before lawmakers made the information public, they bought stocks of companies affected by their proposals , therefore using insider information to line their own pockets.
No one was better at it than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her husband. They’ve grown massively wealthy off the scheme. In 2012, Congress passed reforms to limit the practice, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) has never enforced it outside of a small number of investigations and the resulting minor fines.
Is It Any Surprise Pelosi Defends Stock Purchases?
In 2011, CBS News blew the socks off Congress’ scheme to enrich themselves. In the real world, it’s a criminal offense if someone takes insider information and profits from it in the stock market.
However, what’s good for the goose apparently wasn’t good for the gander. In 2008, Pelosi pushed through legislation that could harm credit card companies. As she did so, she and her husband purchased 5,000 shares of Visa stock valued at $44. Two days later, it exploded to $64.
Visa put on a full-court pressure campaign to persuade Pelosi to stop the legislation. Not only did she personally profit, but Visa’s Political Action Committee (PAC) and executives also donated $1,000 to her campaign and the House Democratic Caucus. As a result, they got one-on-one time with Pelosi in her office. While the legislation ultimately passed in the House, Pelosi ultimately gained financially.
In the wake of the CBS report, Congress passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. It required more transparency for members of Congress, but the DOJ has never prosecuted a lawmaker with insider trading despite some questionable stock transactions.
Pelosi Enriches Herself Further
On Wednesday, December 29, Speaker Pelosi again defended lawmakers’ right to purchase and sell stocks. She argued it’s a free-market economy, and members of Congress should participate if they choose as long as they follow the public disclosure rules in the STOCK Act.
In recent months, regulators caught several lawmakers not reporting their stock transactions in violation of the law. That’s apparently not a concern to Pelosi despite her public statement. In mid-December, Pelosi documented her husband’s purchase of millions of dollars in stocks. The list of companies included Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast, and Visa.
Pelosi’s spouse runs a venture capital and investment firm and made numerous purchases of company stocks his wife is supposed to regulate, supposedly without knowing anything about regulations she might impose. In late December, Pelosi’s stock purchase report showed her husband bought $1.75 and $3.6 million in call options between December 17 and December 22 of Google, Salesforce, Roblox, and Disney stocks.
Is it a coincidence?
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