Last year, there was bipartisan support for a bill that aimed to prohibit members of Congress from participating in the stock market. This was in response to growing concerns from the public that some lawmakers may be using insider information to make profitable investments, which is against federal law.
The proposed legislation would have likely built upon the STOCK Act of 2012, which was enacted by former President Barack Obama. The STOCK Act already prohibited stock trades based on knowledge of upcoming legislation that could impact the markets, and it imposed modest fines for violations.
However, the initial enthusiasm for the new legislation waned, and no further progress was made in 2023. Nevertheless, a recent report is expected to reignite interest in strengthening the laws surrounding congressional stock trading. It may even propose a complete ban on members of Congress and their immediate families engaging in any stock trades while in office.
“Former House Speaker and Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California made a 65% profit on her stock trading portfolio in 2023, according to an analysis of House of Representatives financial disclosure records by the group Unusual Whales,” the Daily Caller reported last week.
“Pelosi and her husband Paul, a venture capitalist in San Francisco, have long been known for their jointly held stock portfolio, which has made significant profits in recent years. In 2023, the Pelosi portfolio’s profits were driven by trading options contracts — which allow the holder to purchase a stock at a lower price than its market value — and outperformed the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index of the U.S. stock market’s largest companies by a margin of 40%,” the DC added, citing Unusual Whales.
The director of the Revolving Door Project Jeff Hauser called out the obvious anomaly: “It’s a sign of quasi-insider trading that’s corrupt and should be banned – it’s either an addiction to risk or a sign of corruption.”
“There are teams of people at sophisticated hedge funds that exist to find minor arbitrage opportunities to make a profit. It’s preposterous to think they are finding profit where Bridgewater or Renaissance Capital is missing it,” Hauser continued.
I have just released the full report on politicians trading in 2023.
Like every year since 2020, US politicians beat the market.
And many in Congress made unusually timed trades resulting in huge gains.
Here are the top performers of 2023. pic.twitter.com/ykf9VICsBw
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) January 2, 2024
However, Pelosi’s profits surpassed those of the largest hedge funds in the country. Bridgewater Associations, the biggest among them, experienced a decline of 7.6 percent last year, whereas Millennium Management saw a growth of 10 percent and GOP donor Ken Griffin’s Citadel LLC gained 15.3 percent. Nevertheless, unlike Pelosi, these funds did not outperform the S&P 500.
In July, during her regular press briefing, Nancy Pelosi was questioned regarding her husband’s stock trading activities, causing her to display visible discomfort and distress.
“Has your husband ever made a stock purchase or sale based on info received from you?” the reporter said to a flustered Speaker.
“No! Not, okay, thank you,” she said before hurriedly leaving the press conference.
In the wake of criticism faced by Paul Pelosi for his $5 million stock purchase in a chip manufacturer just before Congress voted on legislation that could benefit semiconductor producers with $52 billion, a question arose. A report revealed that in June, he made significant transactions in the stock market, such as investing millions in Nvidia Corporation, while also selling substantial amounts of Visa and Apple stocks and call options, as highlighted by The Epoch Times.
The outlet reported:
“According to the filing, Paul Pelosi exercised 200 call options, or 20,000 shares, of Nvidia at a strike price of $100 and expiration of June 17, 2022, worth between $1 million and $5 million.
On that same date, her husband also sold 50 call options in Apple at a strike price of $100, with the transaction listed with a value of between $100,000 and $250,000.
Call options are a contract between a buyer and a seller to purchase a certain stock, bond, commodity, or other assets at a certain price up until a defined expiration date.”