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Pelosis’ prolific stock trading is disqualifying on ban: McCarthy – Business Insider

  • Kevin McCarthy said Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t be allowed to write a congressional stock trading ban due to her husband’s trades.
  • Last week, Pelosi denied that her husband has traded using information she’s provided him.
  • House Democrats are reportedly set to unveil their bill to ban congressional stock trading in August. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday that Speaker Nancy Pelosi should steer clear of negotiations on curtailing congressional stock trading because her day-trading spouse clouds her trustworthiness.

“I’m sure she had conversations on the phone about what was going to be on the floor. I’m sure she had conversations about what the chip version finally looked at. I don’t know if he was able to hear them or not,” McCarthy said Friday, referring to a just-passed semiconductor bill as one example of the advance knowledge about what Congress is working on that Paul Pelosi could be privy to. “I think we need to bring trust back to this institution. 

McCarthy’s barb comes on the heels of House Democrats announcing their plan to unveil an updated stock trading ban framework in August. The plan would reportedly force lawmakers, their spouses, and senior staffers to put their investments into a blind trust or sell them altogether.

Pelosi’s husband, Paul, is a venture capitalist and frequent stock trader. Insider found that he’s personally traded millions of dollars in stocks and stock option in 19 companies since 2021.

Both Pelosis came under fire recently after Paul Pelosi exercised 200 call options, or 20,000 shares, of NVIDIA worth between $1 million and $5 million on June 17 — about a month before a congressional vote on the “Chips-plus” bill, which will invest $54 billion in stateside semiconductor manufacturing and research.

The criticism led to the speaker denying at a press conference that her husband trades stocks using information she’s given him. A week after his wife’s press conference appearance, Paul Pelosi dumped all of his NVIDIA stock for a “total loss of $341,365.”

A previous analysis from Insider estimated that the Pelosis are worth at least $46,123,051, making Nancy Pelosi one of the 25 richest members of Congress. The vast majority of the couple’s wealth is derived from stocks, options, and investments made by Paul Pelosi. 

Pelosi originally pushed back against the idea of a ban on congressional stock trading. “We are a free-market economy,” she said in a December 2021 press conference. “They should be able to participate in that.”

She ultimately warmed to the idea after facing sharp criticism from colleagues on both the left and the right.

McCarthy, whose financial portfolio doesn’t include individual stocks, said policing congressional stock trading would be top priority should Republicans reclaim control of the House this fall. 

“I think we have to do a thorough investigation and look at what is the proper role for members of Congress and what influence they have,” McCarthy said. “And this is something that we will do in the majority.”

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill countered McCarthy’s “ridiculous comments” by stating that “insider trading is already a federal criminal and civil violation and the Speaker strongly supports robust enforcement of the relevant statutes by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.” 

“We look forward to his support of the proposal Chair Lofgren will be circulating soon to ban trading of stocks,” Hammill told Insider.  

Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” investigation found 66 lawmakers who violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, a federal stock trading transparency law designed to curb conflicts of interest.

The investigation also found dozens more lawmakers whose personal stock trades are discordant with their public responsibilities.

This includes members who craft anti-tobacco policy but invest in tobacco giants and Democrats who receive plaudits from environmental groups for crafting policy aimed at combating the climate crisis — yet invest in fossil fuel companies.

Numerous Republicans who oppose abortion rights personally invest in companies at the forefront of the abortion-rights movement. A growing number of lawmakers are meanwhile trading the stock of defense contractors all while considering massive military spending proposals.

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