Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, just cashed in a multi-million dollar bet — right as Congress is set to pass a bill that all but guaranteed it was a winner.
Nancy’s husband just exercised up to $5 million in stock options on the computer chip company Nvidia, one of the world’s biggest semiconductor manufacturers, according to the Daily Caller.
A vote lined up in Congress for next week would hand $52 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars to domestic computer chip manufacturers like Nvidia, a Congressional effort to subsidize American manufacturing.
On June 17, Paul Pelosi exercised 200 call options at a $100 strike price, giving him 20,000 shares of Nvidia at $100 per share. That’s according to the House speaker’s most recent financial disclosure report released on Thursday.
As early as Tuesday, a bipartisan bill that will subsidize the company’s manufacturing will be voted on by the Senate. The House first passed the bill in February.
Talk about perfect timing.
“It certainly raises the specter that Paul Pelosi could have access to some insider legislative information,” Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the Public Citizen think tank, told the Daily Caller. “This is the reason why there is a stock trading app that exclusively monitors Paul’s trading activity and then its followers do likewise.”
The House speaker had previously defended lawmakers and their family’s controversial plays in the stock market, and said lawmakers should not be barred from trading stock — a practice that has come under scrutiny because it gives members of Congress the opportunity to profit off insider information gained through their official duties.
“We are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” Pelosi, whose husband holds tens of millions of dollars worth of stocks and options, told reporters in December.
Pelosi has long claimed she has no involvement in or prior knowledge of her husband’s trading decisions and does not own any stock herself.
The issue of congressional stock trading has taken on new urgency since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when suspiciously timed stock trades by lawmakers in both parties provoked outrage and led to multiple investigations.
To date, no one has been charged in connection with stock trading investigations undertaken by the Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission.
But the often lucrative trades nonetheless shone a spotlight on the inadequacies of a 2012 law called the STOCK Act, which bars members from using inside information to make investment decisions and requires that all stock trades be reported to Congress within 45 days.
The 2012 law was passed with bipartisan support in the wake of a stock trading scandal. Yet in the nearly 10 years since it was enacted, no one has been prosecuted under it even as many members continue to conspicuously trade.
In some recent cases, lawmakers have failed to report their trades altogether, as required by the law.
“We have a responsibility to report,” Pelosi admitted in December. “If people aren’t reporting they should be.”
But when asked whether lawmakers and their spouses should be prohibited from trading stock while in Congress, Pelosi said, “No,” adding that “this is a free market.”
Legal experts say insider trading cases are exceptionally difficult to prosecute because they require definitively proving whether someone acted on nonpublic information. That hinges on demonstrating intent — a high burden.
That’s why many ethics experts have advocated for a ban on congressional stock trading to remove the temptation altogether.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.