Pelosi Makes Millions on Tech Stocks, Scoffs at Ban on Congressional Trades Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Saturday, 08 January 2022 12:54 PM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scrambling to block efforts from bipartisan lawmakers to prevent members of Congress from engaging in individual stock picks, according to a New York Post report.
Pelosi, who has amassed an estimated net worth of anywhere between $40 million and $252 million, was accused last month of "slow-walking" efforts to rein in Big Tech while she gained on bullish stock options from Google, Salesforce, Micron Technology, and Roblox.
Days later, a shaken-looking Pelosi asserted that members of Congress should be able to engage in the "free-market" and that there would be "no" conflict of interest from doing so.
During a press conference in mid-December, Pelosi was asked if she had any "reaction" to 49 members of Congress violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (or STOCK Act) and if members of Congress should be banned from trading individual stocks while serving.
A frazzled Pelosi then took a big sip of water, responding, "no, to the second [question]. We have a responsibility to report on the stock, but I'm not familiar with that five-month review, but if people aren't reporting, they should be. We are a free-market economy; they should be able to participate in that."
Reacting to Pelosi's comment, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, tweeted, "it's a ridiculous comment! She might as well have said 'let them eat cake.' Sure, it's a free-market economy. But your average schmuck doesn't get confidential briefings from government experts chock full of nonpublic information directly related to the price of stocks."
Paul Pelosi, Pelosi's husband, who heads the venture capital firm Financial Leasing Services, has made many bets on companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Google, that his wife has been called to regulate.
But as Drew Hammill, Pelosi's spokesman, points out, the congresswoman "does not own any stocks."
"As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the Speaker fully cooperates," Hammill maintains, "these transactions are marked 'SP' for Spouse. The Speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions."
However, while the Speaker may have no knowledge of "any transactions," both she and her husband do own several properties.
Earlier this year, the Speaker praised the idea of anti-trust legislation to break up Big Tech. "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," Pelosi said. Publicly, she has decried tech monopolization. Privately, according to sources, a different story is being told.
"The optics are terrible for her, for the party, and for Congress," one source said. "And it raises serious questions anytime she takes action or doesn't act on issues relating to holding these companies accountable."
According to a New York Times report, Pelosi talked to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the anti-trust legislation.
"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," another source added.
According to Business Insider, so far, 52 members of Congress have been reported as violating the stock act and would face the paltry fine of "$200" or could have it "waived by House or Senate ethics officials."