In one of its rare moments of usefulness, “60 Minutes” once did a segment on how members of Congress profited financially from the information they gathered in the course of their work.
The 2011 broadcast revealed that lawmakers practiced insider trading equivalent from what they learned on the job.
What was illegal on Wall Street was allowed on First Street in Washington.
In 2012 Congress overwhelmingly passed, and then-President Barack Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act, to ban lawmakers from trading securities on information that was not publicly known.
Among the 417 House supporters of the bill was Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
But fast forward nine years and it seems, as seen so often during the pandemic, San Francisco doesn’t need to follow rules meant for others.
On Friday, the Washington Times reported that Pelosi faced criticism for dealing in Tesla stock just before President Joe Biden announced his aggressive green energy plan.
According to the Times, Pelosi’s husband, Paul, a venture capitalist, bought $1 million of Tesla stock in December, when it was priced at $640 a share. On Thursday, Tesla was trading for $838 a share, a 31 percent increase.
Just after the Pelosis acquired the stock, the Times noted, “the Biden administration released plans to make the federal automobile fleet electric.”
But that’s only one part of the outrageous deal.
Pelosi’s financial disclosure forms indicated she maneuvered to be able to buy Tesla at $500 a share through March 2022, the Times reported. So at the moment, Pelosi can purchase Tesla stock at a 40 percent discount.
When the Times contacted Pelosi’s office for a comment, her spokesman replied that “her husband, not the speaker, made the Tesla bets and the speaker’s political relationships were irrelevant.”
John Pudner, executive director of TakeBack.org, a conservative political group that seeks to end the pay-to-play corruption in Congress, told the Times, “It’s corrupt and unacceptable for members of Congress, particularly the speaker, to trade stocks in companies affected by their votes in Congress.”
He added, “Elected leaders from all political parties should live up to a standard of ethics that ordinary Americans see as vital to the country.”