House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, bought up to approximately $11 million in big tech stocks in May and June, just before the House moved forward with an anti-tech package of bills.
He purchased $4.8 million worth of Google-parent Alphabet shares, up to $1 million worth of Amazon call options, and as much as $250,000 worth of Apple call options, according to a financial disclosure form filed last week.
Paul Pelosi also bought up to $5 million worth of call options from Nvidia, a technology company that designs Graphics processing units (GPUs).
Paul Pelosi’s multimillion-dollar move was completed just weeks before the House Judiciary Committee passed six bipartisan antitrust bills — endorsed by Nancy Pelosi — aimed at big tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, the Washington Examiner reported.
Paul Pelosi’s timely transaction netted him $5.3 million from his Alphabet shares purchased a week before the last part of the six-part package was advanced, Fortune reported.
People on Twitter were quick to allege that Nancy Pelosi had engaged in insider trading, which refers to trading a public company’s stock based on non-public information.
— Jackson Moses (.com) (@jamoses92) July 6, 2021
She made $1.4M in <2 months or ~54.7% on these 3 positions; all were ITM call options
DC where insider trading’s still legal…. pic.twitter.com/Yz9IfTV7bl
— John Street Capital (@JohnStCapital) July 6, 2021
The House Speaker’s office has denied any involvement in the stock transactions.
“The speaker has no involvement or prior knowledge of these transactions,” Nancy Pelosi’s spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Fortune on Wednesday, adding that Pelosi doesn’t own any stock.
Nancy Pelosi is expected to bring the package of bills to a vote on the House floor later this year, the Examiner reported.
“There has been concern on both sides of the aisle about the consolidation of power of the tech companies, and this legislation is an attempt to address that,” she said during a news conference in late June about the bills, according to Politico.
“We are not going to ignore the consolidation that has happened and the concern that exists on both sides of the aisle.”
It is illegal for members of Congress to trade based on non-public information they gathered during their official duties, but it would be difficult to charge those members with insider trading, Forbes reported.
In order to charge a member of Congress with this crime, federal authorities must overcome the Speech or Debate Clause and prove “materiality” in novel circumstances, Forbes said.
The clause protects Congressional members from having to worry that whatever they say during legislative activities will implicate them in a lawsuit, according to The First Amendment Encyclopedia.
Evidence is considered material if it is offered to prove an element of a claim or defense that needs to be established for one side or the other to prevail, according to the Michigan law firm Plunkett Cooney.
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