No Duh: Federal Lawmakers Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Buy And Sell Stocks

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The reason lawmakers shouldn’t be trading stocks is simple: They’re often privy to inside information that could amount to inside trading.

Former House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her husband, for instance, have made millions since she took office. Just last month, the couple sold more than $1.5 million in Alphabet stock. Then guess what happened? This month, the Department of Justice announced an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant.


The Pelosis sold 30,000 shares of Alphabet, the parent company for Google and other firms, on December 20, 21, and 28, the Daily Caller reported. The pair received between $1.5 million and $3 million for the total sale, according to a financial disclosure form Pelosi, filed on January 12. The DOJ announced its lawsuit against Alphabet on Tuesday.

Between 2007 and 2020, Pelosi and her husband saw their stock portfolio’s worth soar as much as $30 million. Paul Pelosi’s net worth is said to be more than $120 million, mostly due to his holdings in technology stocks.

Nancy and Paul Pelosi, he of the famed mugshot after his drunk driving arrest, just seem to have a knack for well-timed trades. The couple bought and sold millions in Nvidia stocks just before a bill passed that subsidized the American semiconductor industry with $280 billion. Huh. What a coincidence.

Not surprisingly, the former speaker has long opposed legislation to ban stock trading for federal lawmakers. And she’s had lots of support; plenty of other members of Congress have become millionaires, even though they make just $180,000 a year.

A report this month from Business Insider found that 49 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers had “violated the so-called STOCK Act, which requires public disclosure by themselves and family members within 45 days of sales or purchases of individual stocks, bonds and commodity futures.”

But guess what the penalty often is for violating the act, put in place a decade ago to combat insider trading? $200. Just as often, a House or Senate ethics committee will just waive the fine, delivering little more than a weak slap on the wrist for the violation.

One Republican lawmaker has a solution, and he’s dubbed it the “PELOSI Act” — “Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to ban lawmakers — and their spouses — from owning and trading stocks while holding office.

“For too long, politicians in Washington have taken advantage of the economic system they write the rules for, turning profits for themselves at the expense of the American people,” Hawley said in a statement.

“As members of Congress, both Senators and Representatives are tasked with providing oversight of the same companies they invest in, yet they continually buy and sell stocks, outperforming the market time and again,” he said.

“While Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other, hardworking Americans pay the price,” the senator said.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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