By Ian Haworth
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) husband bet up to $6 million on Google’s parent company Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and NVIDIA, just before a House committee moved forward with multiple bills looking to limit the power of Big Tech corporations.
On June 18, Paul Pelosi exercised his Alphabet call options, which give him the right to buy 4,000 shares at a price of $1,200 per share, amounting to a total of $4.8 million, according to disclosed transactions. On May 21, he spent up to $250,000 on 50 Apple calls with a strike price of $100, and spent up to $1 million on 20 Amazon calls with a strike price of $3,000, both of which expire on June 17, 2022.
Fox Business reported that Paul Pelosi “did not immediately respond” for comment, while a spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi’s office said, “The speaker has no involvement or prior knowledge of these transactions,” adding that “The speaker does not own any stock.”
Former Democratic House Representative Jill Long Thompson argued that Nancy Pelosi’s husband likely didn’t violate the STOCK Act, claiming that information regarding the legislation is publicly available and — despite his marriage to the House Speaker — he probably wouldn’t “have any information that someone else wouldn’t.”
“Members of Congress make it clear what their positions are on these issues and the fact that they’re working on a piece of legislation that would be public information,” Thompson said.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act is designed to prevent insider trading, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012. It prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit, including the use of insider information for profit by members of Congress.
As Fox Business pointed out, this is not the first time Paul Pelosi has made investment decisions in “close proximity to happenings in Congress.”
“Paul Pelosi in March exercised $1.95 million worth of Microsoft call options less than two weeks before the tech stalwart secured a $22 billion contract to supply U.S. Army combat troops with augmented reality headsets,” Fox explained. “In January, he purchased up to $1 million of Tesla calls before the Biden administration delivered its plans to provide incentives to promote the shift away from traditional automobiles and toward electric vehicles.”
The effort by a number of House Members to introduce legislation to break up Big Tech giants Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook passed an initial hurdle in June, with a House committee approving the legislative move.
“The president is encouraged by the bipartisan work to address problems created by big tech platforms,” a White House official said. “We hope the legislative process continues to move forward on these bipartisan proposals, and we look forward to working with Congress to continue developing these ideas.”
Adam Kovacevich — the CEO of the Chamber of Progress, a group sponsored by multiple Big Tech companies including Amazon, Facebook, and Google — argued that “Democrats should focus on making people’s lives better, not messing with stuff people already like” in a blog post in early June.
“Giving antitrust enforcers more funding and encouraging data portability are relatively uncontroversial ideas, but banning conveniences like Amazon Basics brand batteries, Apple’s Find my Phone tool, or Google Maps appearing in Google search results are ideas that would spark a consumer backlash,” wrote Kovacevich. “Instead of focusing on helping families, these proposals inexplicably target a bunch of technological conveniences that most people really like. Let’s hope Democrats stay focused on the right things.”
Author: Ian Haworth