The Stock Market made Nancy Pelosi rich. Now she wants to ban her colleagues from trading.
The House Speaker’s fortune has grown by $140 million since 2008, thanks in part to her husband’s trades
Andrew Kerr • October 5, 2022 5:00 a.m.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has seen her net worth increase by $140 million since the 2008 financial crisis, largely thanks to her husband’s chance trades at companies she worked for to subsidize. Now she’s trying to climb the ranks behind her: In what could be her final months as a congresswoman, she’s backing a proposal that would ban her colleagues from buying or selling individual stocks.
pelosi mocked about banning lawmakers from trading individual stocks as recently as December, saying she and her colleagues should be able to participate fully in the free-market economy. After rejecting similar proposals, Pelosi backs legislation that would ban stock trading between members of Congress and other senior government officials. House Democratic leaders introduced the Financial Conflict of Interest in Government Act last Tuesday but failed to get the measure to a vote before adjourning for the midterm elections.
Pelosi has been dogged by allegations that her husband, Paul Pelosi, is trading stocks on inside information gleaned from his position in Congress. In March, Paul Pelosi exercised options to buy up to $5 million worth of Tesla stock as the speaker pushed for electric vehicle subsidies, the Free Washington Beacon reported. And in June, Paul Pelosi exercised call options to buy up to $5 million on graphics card maker Nvidia just weeks before the House was to consider a bill calling for more than $50 billion. subsidies to domestic semiconductor manufacturers.
pelosi said in November 2020 after being nominated for a fourth term as president that she would give up the gavel at the end of 2022. And while she announced in January that she would run for re-election in 2022, there is rampant speculation that she will quit Congress if Republicans retake the House in the upcoming midterm elections.
Even Pelosi’s belated about-face is not enough to appease his progressive critics. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D., Va.) said the president and Democratic leaders only introduced the bill because they knew it would fail.
The bill “was drafted to create confusion around reform efforts and complicate a simple reform priority,” Spanberger said. said in a statement Friday, “while creating the appearance that House leadership wanted to act.”
Pelosi’s portfolio has performed remarkably well during times of financial turmoil, as evidenced by its financial information. His estimated net worth skyrocketed at the start of the Great Recession, from $31.4 million in 2008 to $101.1 million in 2010, a 220% increase in a window where the S&P 500 decreases by 13 percent. The speaker has also reaped a major comeback during the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing her estimated net worth rise from $106 million in 2019 to $171.4 million in 2021, a 60% increase.
Government ethics watchdogs have noted glaring flaws in the Pelosi-backed securities bill, which they say will create new opportunities for lawmakers to covertly take advantage of their positions in Congress.
“To say the bill is weak … would be an understatement. The bill is dangerous. It would undermine what little ethics we have in our federal government,” said Walter Shaub, former director of the Ethics Office. governmental. said of the measure.
Shaub noted that the bill would allow lawmakers to enter into “fake blind trusts.” Typical blind trusts, in which a legislator’s assets are managed by an independent manager, require the trustees to divest anything the officials have placed in the trust. But the Pelosi-backed bill would exempt directors from the surrender requirement, Shaub said.
“The problem with this bill is that it creates a completely separate process and there are no special rules or requirements surrounding it,” said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, government affairs manager. of the Government Oversight Project. Told Initiated. “You would be able to create any kind of trust you want, put whatever you want in it, and call it a blind trust, even though there would be no way to prove that. it is, in fact, blind trust.”
The precise net worth of Pelosi and all other members of Congress is unknown, as lawmakers report a range of values for all of their assets rather than exact dollar amounts. Pelosi’s estimated net worth of $171.4 million in 2021 was calculated considering the ranges of all individual assets and liabilities reported in his financial disclosure statement.
Pelosi joined Congress in 1987 with a net worth of at least $2.7 million, according to his financial disclosure statement filed that year and obtained by Politifact. However, Pelosi’s net worth in his inaugural year in Congress was almost certainly higher than that figure, as lawmakers weren’t required then to declare an upper range for their assets like they are today. .
Pelosi adamantly refuse allegations of insider trading. His office did not return a request for comment.