Pelosi Is Winning Big on Wall Street
Not even Warren Buffett has been trading stocks as profitably as the ethically challenged speaker of the House.
If you work hard and play by the rules, but you aren’t in a position to affect the fate of regulatory legislation aimed at companies whose stocks you buy and sell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has a message for you: Suckers!
Say what you will about San Fran Nan, but she’s getting hers. And speakership has its privileges. As the New York Post reports: “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.”
Is this a great country or what?
“The oracle of Omaha is dead,” writes Larry Kudlow, former director of the National Economic Council under Donald Trump. “Long live the Queen of Stocks. According to reports, she and her husband … have traded over $50 million in assets over the past year with annualized returns at 69% as of October, according to an estimate from the Nancy Pelosi portfolio tracker. That’s higher than Buffett, George Soros, Cathy Wood, and other star investors. Apparently, the Pelosi portfolio beat the S&P 500 by 4.9 percent in 2019 and a big 14.3% gain in 2020. … Ms. Pelosi is becoming a cult figure among stock investors.”
Does it trouble anyone else that the person who’s second in line to the presidency and who decides what legislation makes it to the House floor for a vote has achieved cult status among Wall Street types? Apparently, it does. A recent survey by the Trafalgar Group found that a whopping 76% of voters think lawmakers and their spouses have “an unfair advantage” when it comes to trading stocks, while just 5% approve of the practice. Thus, stock trading by members of Congress is a rare issue that’s wildly unpopular on both the Left and the Right. And yet Pelosi seems oblivious.
“The Speaker does not own any stocks,” claimed Pelosi mouthpiece Drew Hammill. “As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the Speaker fully cooperates, these transactions are marked ‘SP’ for Spouse. The Speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions.”
Yeah, right. Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, called this defense “absolutely insulting.” We agree.
As if Pelosi’s money-grubbing shenanigans weren’t enough, she’s also been trying to kill bipartisan efforts to ban stock trading by members of Congress, even as she and her husband, Paul, whose combined fortune is somewhere north of $100 million, hauled in as much as $30 million while betting on the same Big Tech companies she’s responsible for regulating. Has she no shame? Apparently not. But as Barack Obama might’ve put it, “At a certain point, you’ve made enough money.”
While it might be good to be the speaker, it’s likely not so good to be a childish, condescending, hypocritical speaker whose career in the Swamp has all but run its course. Not surprisingly, even some of Pelosi’s fellow Democrats admit the optics of her trading are terrible — to say nothing of the ethics.
Texas Republican Congressman Michael Cloud has authored two bills that would ban stock trading by members of Congress. What are the odds that Pelosi’s House will bring either up for a vote? Probably somewhere between slim and none. “We should be held to a higher standard,” says Cloud. “When the public sees people in office profiting off [stock trading] when they’re struggling, it does a great disservice to everything that this nation should be about.” Indeed.
Back in 2006, then-House Minority Leader Pelosi parlayed a clever catchphrase into a rout of the Republicans in the 2006 midterms. “Culture of Corruption” was the incessant cry of the Democrats, and it worked like a charm. At the time, George W. Bush was midway through his second term, the war in Iraq was dragging on, and a complicit media had helped the Democrats turn an otherwise obscure Republican lobbyist named Jack Abramoff into the embodiment of Beltway bribery.
But just because Pelosi has forgotten her history doesn’t mean she won’t be doomed to repeat it. When non-transitory inflation and other economic issues are already of utmost concern to everyday Americans, the news that the speaker of the House has been making a killing on Wall Street is likely to go over about as well as a $24,000 fridge chock-full of $13-per-pint ice cream.
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