Pelosi To Ensure When It Comes To The Stock Market, The Rich (& Her Friends) Will Get Richer



Written By: Anton Sawyer


Pelosi To Ensure When It Comes To The Stock Market, The Rich (& Her Friends) Will Get Richer




When it comes to issues presenting the Democrat party as blatantly corrupt, the hubris that gets presented by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (along with other DNC leadership) is one of the main reasons why I refuse to register as a Democrat.


From the 2016 Wikileaks dump showing that the DNC did everything within its power to stack the deck in support of Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, to more recent statements and actions brought about by Pelosi on congressional members being allowed to actively trade stock during their administrations, the last decade for the liberal party has brought about the revelation that they are just as corrupt as their conservative counterparts.

Today’s piece is going to examine the deception and inaction used by the Democratic party in 2021 and 2022 as it pertains to congressional members being able to trade stocks, and how Pelosi’s support of them doing this activity shows that maybe the DNC doesn’t want as much “change” as they’d like you to think.


Office of Nancy Pelosi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Office of Nancy Pelosi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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In 2012, former-President Obama signed the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act into law. The name sells the idea succinctly; stop allowing those who have a direct impact on various pieces of legislation which can modify the value of stocks, or the stock market itself, to trade them during their tenure. It passed the Senate by a vote of 96-3 and the House by a vote of 417-2, which should be a no-brainer. In no way, shape, or form can it be ethical for someone who has a financially vested interest in a corporation to be able to change laws in the area of that corporation which will lead to a monetary windfall. Yet, as we’ve learned, when it comes to politics, nothing is certain. In fact, with the way many politicians respond to those who question specifics of the laws they write, the term “no-brainer” could be modified to mean that those who enact the laws don’t have a brain at all.

Though, since the passage of the STOCK Act, it seems that many of our political leaders have either forgotten about this law or simply don’t care—this also extends to those who vociferously championed the law and voted for it in the first place.

In 2021, Business Insider spent hundreds of hours over five months reviewing nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers. Reporters conducted hundreds of interviews, including those with some of the nation's most powerful leaders. This was released in a document called “Conflicted Congress,” and it chronicles the myriad of ways members of the US House and Senate have eviscerated their own ethical standards, avoided consequences, and blinded Americans to the many moments when lawmakers' personal finances clash with their public duties.

There are way too many infractions to include all the findings in this article today. However, I did want to include some of the key points.

  • 54 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers have violated federal conflict-of-interest law.

  • Lawmakers and top congressional staffers face minimal and inconsistently applied penalties for violating the STOCK Act, and it's nearly impossible to comprehensively obtain "public records" about senior-level staffers' personal finances.

  • 15 lawmakers tasked with shaping US defense policy actively invest in military contractors.

  • More than a dozen environmentally-minded Democrats invested in fossil fuel companies or other corporations with concerning environmental track records.

There are many more, but I think this gives you a good idea of what we’re dealing with. Yet, when you look at some of the specific cases, it only gets worse.


Documents showed that Texas Republican Michael Burgess, a 10-term lawmaker who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on health (which has jurisdiction over health insurance), sold 100 shares of stock in the health insurer Cigna Corp. on November 19, 2021, when it closed at $210.51 a share. The stock's price plummeted during the following several days before rebounding in December. Burgess certified that he became aware of the trade on November 23, and by federal law, he had until December 23 to publicly disclose the trade—but didn't do so until December 31.

Yes, he broke the law by not disclosing the trade within the 30-day limit provided by law, but that’s not the shocking part of this situation. Think about it for a moment. A legislator that has access to knowledge about legislative minutiae and how that can impact such things as health insurance is not only allowed to trade stocks, but they don't have to even report it for 30 days. In the world of finance, 30 days is enough time to completely ruin a business entity in a financial sense. And by the time anyone is even thinking about what this congressman’s knowledge might be when it comes to cooking the books, the cyber trail has already been dealt with somehow (or for you old-timers, Burgess is already out the door, briefcase in hand).

Before we get into Pelosi’s response let's touch on what the possible fines for such an infraction may be. Scofflaws are supposed to pay a late fee of $200 the first time they file a report about their stock trades late, and increasingly higher fines are supposed to follow if they continue to be late—potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars in extreme cases, which rarely happens. That means a lawmaker could go in, help propel a piece of legislation that is beneficial to their pocket (no matter how it may impact anyone else), shake up the business financially to the possible tune of millions of dollars, and then be punished with a $200 penalty. The only thing more absurd than this fining system is how Pelosi has responded to all of it. Spoiler alert: she doesn’t care, even though the American people do.


When it comes to this dubious activity of legislators impacting stocks they trade, the American people have made it clear that they aren’t OK with it. A 2022 poll conducted by Data for Progress showed that when it comes to banning members of Congress from trading stocks, 67% of voters support a ban.


When asked about these poll results, along with the results found in the Conflicted Congress report, Pelosi made her feelings clear. Though she did affirm that members of Congress should report promptly by saying, “We have a responsibility to report. But If people aren’t reporting [stock trades], they should be.” Yet, when asked about a full ban, she was completely dismissive. “No,” she said. Continuing, "We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that."


While I’m going through these quotes by Pelosi, it’s also important to know that her husband Paul Pelosi went on a stock purchasing spree after his wife made the assertions above. Two days after her statements, Paul Pelosi bought stock in Alphabet worth between $500,001 and $1 million. He also bought shares in Disney worth between $100,001 and $250,000 during the same time. Over five days, Paul Pelosi purchased stock worth anywhere between $1,750,007 and $3,600,000.

When you look at who does the most stock trading and who will benefit most from keeping this ban away from Wall Street, the (in)actions of Nancy Pelosi and the DNC show just how little they care about the middle and lower classes.

A Federal Reserve analysis from 2016 shows that a relatively small share of American families (14%), are directly invested in individual stocks. It also shows that a majority (52%), have some market investment—mostly from owning retirement accounts such as 401(k)s. New York University professor Edward Wolff, whose job it is to track wealth in America, found that even though almost half of all households owned shares either directly or indirectly, the richest 10% of households controlled 84% of the total value of these stocks.


In essence, there are not enough American citizens who are involved with the stock market to where certain bans or restrictions are going to negatively impact those that Pelosi constantly claims she’s looking out for—the average American. The only people that will be harmed are those with whom Pelosi works.


Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Pelosi or the DNC are going to enact some kind of serious legislation to stop these loopholes and actually hold the gatekeepers to account. Oddly enough, I think the best quote on how America should look at how to combat stock manipulation—legal or otherwise—comes from Adena Friedman, CEO of NASDAQ. In 2020, the stock market was getting a huge overhaul by the common man through the mammoth purchasing of inexpensive GameStop stocks and Dogecoin. Because our nation is set up to where only “the right kind of people” should be allowed to benefit from the stock market at large, experts were called in to present ideas to stop this distribution of wealth in its tracks (including talk of enacting legislation). Though Friedman’s quote was more about the new technologies used by those buying up the Dogecoin, it works perfectly for the opposite side of the fence when it comes to this Pelosi/legislative mess. “As we look at these new technologies that are available to anyone, including investors, I think it’s also important for regulators to understand that manipulation is manipulation, whether it’s happening through a new technology medium or it’s happening through traditional mail.”


… or whether it's happening by lawmakers stacking the deck for themselves like a blackjack table in Vegas that allows the dealer to deal themselves into the hand.

 

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