- The House speaker’s husband, Paul Pelosi, made two million-dollar stock trades.
- Rep. Pat Fallon of Texas is late again filing his stock disclosures.
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal also improperly disclosed investments.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Members of Congress routinely trade stocks, buying and selling the shares of companies that often have significant business before the federal government — and sometimes spend a lot of money to lobby lawmakers.
Each week, Insider digs through congressional financial-disclosure records and asks lawmakers questions about their personal finances. Here are the latest highlights from what we’ve discovered.
Pelosi’s husband buys up more stocks
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s husband, Paul Pelosi, bought stocks in Google’s parent company Alphabet and in NVIDIA Corporation, which designs graphics processing units for the gaming market. Each purchase was valued at up to $5 million.
Bloomberg first reported on the Alphabet trade, which occured in the weeks leading up to the House Judiciary Committee’s vote on legislation that would limit how tech companies like Google organize and offer their products. Alphabet routinely spends millions of dollars annually lobbying Congress and federal agencies.
Paul Pelosi runs Financial Leasing Services, Inc., a real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm.
Drew Hammil, the speaker’s spokesman, said she does not own any stock and complied with all disclosures, which require members of Congress to post stock trades for spouses and dependent children.
“The speaker has no involvement or prior knowledge of these transactions,” he said.
Insider asked Hammil whether Pelosi supported a bill Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat of Massachusetts, plans to re-introduce that would bar members of Congress and other top government officials from buying and selling individual stocks. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat of Washington, will be introducing the House version of the bill.
Hammil said he couldn’t comment because the Jayapal bill hadn’t yet been introduced.
Fallon late again on disclosure report
Rep. Pat Fallon, a Republican from Texas, appears to have been late again in filing his financial disclosures to the clerk of the House of Representatives. He waited until July 2 to file trades from May, including in Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, FedEx, and American Airlines. The largest trade was in Microsoft on May 26, valued at up to $500,000.
By federal law, members of Congress have 30 days from when they become aware of a stock trade to formally disclose it. If they don’t comply they can face an ethics investigation or fines.
Insider previously reported that Fallon failed to properly disclose more than 90 stock transactions worth as much as $17.53 million.
His spokesman, Luke Ball, previously acknowledged the tardiness and said Fallon, a freshman, wasn’t familiar with the rules even though he’d done new member orientations where officials go over these types of disclosure requirements. Ball didn’t respond to questions about the latest set of trades and previously said Fallon wasn’t available for a phone interview.
The independent, nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics, which is authorized by the House to review accusations of congressional misconduct and make referrals to the House Committee on Ethics, could investigate Fallon’s late disclosures.
Blumenthal’s disclosure snafu
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, has a disclosure problem of his own.
On July 1, the senator’s attorneys, Marc Elias and Kate Sawyer Keane, informed the Secretary of the Senate that Blumenthal had failed to disclose four stock option transactions from November 14, 2019.
The late disclosures are a violation of the federal STOCK Act’s disclosure provisions and could expose Blumenthal, one of the Senate’s wealthiest members, to a small fine.
Each trade involved call or put options for First Republic Bank stock. Blumenthal’s wife is a “passive investor in the investment vehicle that holds this asset over which she has no control, influence, or discretionary power,” Blumenthal spokesperson Maria McElwain told Insider
They were discovered, McElwain said, in the process of preparing the senator’s annual financial report “and double checking that everything matched up with the transaction reports that had been filed that year.”
McElwain emphasized Blumenthal’s commitment to strengthening conflicts of interest and campaign finance disclosure laws. The senator, she said, is also “considering additional steps to bolster government ethics rules,” including supporting the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, a bill sponsored in the Senate by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, which would ban members of Congress from buying and selling certain kinds of investments.
Cryptocurrency purchases for Toomey and Moore
On June 10, Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, sent US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen a four-page letter “related to the regulation and oversight of cryptocurrencies.”
In short, Toomey isn’t keen on rules that “would have a detrimental impact on financial technology.” The senator continued: “The regulation of cryptocurrencies should be approached with the understanding that this technological breakthrough has the potential to dramatically empower individuals and improve their lives.”
Four days later, Toomey invested up to $15,000 in cryptocurrency fund Grayscale Ethereum Trust, according to disclosures filed with the US Senate. The next day, he invested up to $15,000 more in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust fund.
Toomey’s office did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
Meanwhile, on June 13, Rep. Felix Barry Moore, a Republican of Alabama, purchased up to $15,000 worth of cryptocurrency Dogecoin, and he’d previously purchased crypto company Ethereum in May.
Government regulations in other countries sent both stocks tanking last week.
Big tech, energy, and virtual doc visits
Elsewhere in the House, Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat of Virginia, made numerous stock purchases in June that included Alphabet, Microsoft, and NextEra Energy. NextEra provides renewable energy and could see a boost under the infrastructure package currently making its way through Congress.
Beyer also bought shares in Teladoc, a company that provides virtual doctor visits. Congress is mired in a debate over how to make virtual care more available to patients, and how much to pay for it. The stocks he traded were part of a joint account.
Another purchase Beyer made in June was for up to $15,000 in shares in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The drug company makes the coronavirus treatment former President Donald Trump took and praised after he became ill from the virus. US regulators authorized a lower dose of the medication last month, allowing it to be administered through a shot rather than through an IV.
Other trades of note in May and June:
- Sen. Tom Carper‘s wife, Martha Ann Stacy, made a flurry of stock sales and purchases in June. Among then: sales of Starbucks, L3Harris Technologies, and NVIDIA Corp., each valued at up to $15,000. Carper is a Democratic senator from Delaware.
- Sen. Bill Hagerty, a Republican of Tennessee and former US ambassador to Japan during the Trump administration, bought up to $15,000 in Boeing stock.
- Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, purchased up to $15,000 in Simon Property Group Inc. stock and up to $15,000 in Juniper Networks Inc. stock.
- Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican of Virginia, bought up to $15,000 in BP stock.
- Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat of Oregon, bought up to $15,000 in hotel chain Extended Stay America. The account is listed as part of his wife’s retirement portfolio.
- Rep. John Curtis, a Republican of Utah, made almost 40 trades in June, all valued at less than $15,000. Companies included PepsiCo, defense provider Raytheon, Hilton Worldwide, and Home Depot.
- Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat of Texas, also traded stock in Home Depot as well as in IBM and PPG Industries, a supplier of paints, coatings, and specialty materials The shares were valued at up to $15,000.
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