The House fails to pass bill barring lawmakers from stock trading

Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia excoriated her party leadership including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer for delaying a potential vote this week meant to ban lawmakers from holding and trading in stocks. Spanberger even called for new leadership in the Democrat party.

Spanberger had partnered with Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) to introduce the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act on Jan. 15, 2021. The legislation had 71 co-sponsors, ranging from Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida to squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

The legislation would have required lawmakers and immediate family members to place stocks in a blind trust. 

Business Insider magazine’s Conflicted Congress investigation in December 2021 revealed dozens of STOCK Act violations, and numerous potential conflicts of interests driven by lawmakers’ stock holdings, as well as paltry enforcement of anti-insider trading rules. Forty-nine members of Congress and 182 senior congressional staffers violated laws aimed at preventing insider trading.

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Pharmaceutical Industry Suffers Billions In Losses After States Legalize Marijuana, New Study Finds

The pharmaceutical industry takes a serious economic hit after states legalize marijuana—with an average market loss of nearly $10 billion for drugmakers per each legalization event—according to a first-of-its-kind study.

The peer-reviewed research article, published in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday, looked at stock return and prescription drug sales data for 556 pharmaceutical companies from 1996 to 2019, analyzing market trends before and after the enactment of medical and adult-use cannabis legalization laws at the state level.

The stock returns were “1.5-2 percent lower at 10 days after legalization,” the study authors founds. “Returns decreased in response to both medical and recreational legalization, for both generic and brand drugmakersInvestors anticipate a single legalization event to reduce drugmaker annual sales by $3 billion on average.”

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Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Buys Millions In Chip Stocks Right Before Vote On Massive Chip Subsidy

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul bought up to $5 million in stock of a computer chip company ahead of a vote on a bill next week that would hand billions in subsidies to boost chip manufacturing, a financial disclosure shows.

Paul Pelosi purchased 20,000 shares of Nvidia, one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, on June 17, according to the speaker’s disclosure report released Thursday. Now, senators will convene as early as Tuesday to vote on a bipartisan competition bill, which allocates $52 billion to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing and gives tax credits for production, Reuters reported Thursday.

“It certainly raises the specter that Paul Pelosi could have access to some insider legislative information,” Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the left-wing think tank Public Citizen, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is the reason why there is a stock trading app that exclusively monitors Paul’s trading activity and then its followers do likewise.”

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See every stock trade House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband has made since 2021

As members of Congress debate whether lawmakers and their spouses should play the stock market, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, a venture capitalist, continues to regularly buy and sell stocks and stock options.

Pelosi has access to confidential intelligence and the power to affect — with words or actions — the fortunes of companies in which her husband invests and trades.

When asked in December 2021 whether members of Congress should even be allowed to trade stocks, Pelosi answered in the affirmative.

“We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” she said.

This led some of her colleagues, on both the left and the right, to sharply criticize her — and draft legislation to restrict members of Congress and their spouses from trading stocks.

“Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating,” Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said. “Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country. Here’s something we can do: ban all members of Congress from trading stocks and force those who do to pay their proceeds back to the American people. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering.”

Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, introduced a similar bill alongside Sen. Mark Kelly with the intent to ban members of Congress and their families from trading stocks.

“Members of Congress should not be playing the stock market while we make federal policy and have extraordinary access to confidential information,” Ossoff said.

Pelosi has since softened her stance, but the fate of a congressional stock-trade ban remains unclear.

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.

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Banning lawmakers from owning stocks would stymie war profiteering

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to the chairs of the Committee on House Administration urging them to advance legislation banning members of Congress from directly owning or trading stocks while in office.

The letter, sent by 19 lawmakers ranging from Mark Pocan (D-WI) to Matt Gaetz (R-FL) outlined three key provisions: preventing family members and children from owning stock, banning exceptions for stock owned prior to entering office, and backing up any legislation with effective enforcement. 

Congressional stock trading restrictions would disproportionately impact the national security space; A Sludge 2021 analysis of financial holdings found that “The maximum value of the investments held by federal lawmakers in the ‘Big Five’ contractors — Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics — is over $2.6 million, making up nearly 39% of the total stock holdings identified.” 

Several members of Congress snapped up new shares of defense company stock just before the invasion of Ukraine. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) bought shares of Lockheed Martin the day before the invasion, while John Rutherford (R-FL) secured valuable Raytheon stock the day of the invasion itself. Between December 1, 2021, and April 13, 2022, the stock price of Lockheed Martin skyrocketed by 42.8 percent while Raytheon increased by over 24 percent, both well out-pacing the S&P 500 which actually decreased in the same time period.

Some of those lawmakers even have an outsized role in creating national security policy itself. A recent Business Insider analysis found that 15 members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee Congress who own stock in defense giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

Another analysis found that four members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which oversees arms control, had at least four members invested in defense companies. One member of the Committee, Gerry Connolly (D-VA), alone owned $498,000 worth of stock of Leidos — a military contractor that merged with Lockheed Martin in 2016 — as of last year. Leidos’ stock jumped over 27 percent from mid-February to early March. 

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