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ANALYSIS: How The Pelosis Are Using Big Tech To Get Rich

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Many of America’s elected officials curiously end up far wealthier after spending years in office than they were going in, and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no exception.

As the most powerful Democrat in the United States Congress for much of the last two decades, Pelosi’s total wealth has risen from $41 million in 2004 to roughly $115 million, according to campaign finance watchdog Open Secrets. A good chunk of that newfound wealth has come from stock trading on industries that Pelosi has been directly involved in as a Congressional leader, according to a new analysis from liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald.

A vast majority, almost 75%, of the stock trading done by Pelosi and her husband Paul in the last two years has been in the California tech industry, according to data from HouseStockWatcher.com. The Pelosis have done around $33 million worth of trading in the Big Tech industry during a time where debate is raging over if, how and when to regulate the rapidly growing industry, Greenwald reported.

More than 17% of the couple’s trading was in a single company: Apple. Pelosi had at least one private conversation with Apple CEO Tim Cook during this time period to discuss how pending technology legislation would affect the company, according to The New York Times. As new antitrust legislation was introduced in the House earlier this year, tech companies flooded Capitol Hill with lobbyists, phone calls and pressure campaigns, including a call from Cook to Pelosi where he voiced his specific objections personally.

According to the Times report, unnamed sources familiar with the conversation said Pelosi asked Cook what changes could be made to tech regulation bills to commit less harm to Apple. For Pelosi to have such a conversation with the CEO of a company she holds so much stock in, as alleged, seems like a blatant abuse of personal interest.

The rest of the top-five most-traded Pelosi stocks are reportedly Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. All could be heavily impacted by antitrust legislation currently making its way through Congress, and top executives from those companies have testified on Capitol Hill multiple times.

Google is also one of Pelosi’s biggest donors, according to publicly available campaign finance data. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: Big Tech Wins Its First Big Antitrust Test. What Comes Next?

In February 2020, Paul Pelosi purchased large amounts of options in Google. The purchases occurred right before Congress was set to introduce new bills which would increase regulation on the companies. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country and the stock market briefly crashed, Paul Pelosi held onto the options before selling them in June 2020 for a profit of more than $5 million, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Members of Congress are allowed to make these kinds of trades so long as it cannot be proven that they acted on information that wasn’t available to the public. Still, with this kind of financial activity available to lawmakers, it’s easy to see why over half of Congress are millionaires.

According to Fox Business, Paul Pelosi also exercised nearly $2 million of Microsoft options in March of this year just two weeks before the company secured a $22 billion contract from the U.S. Army. Fox Business also reported that he purchased around $1 million in Tesla calls shortly before President Joe Biden’s administration announced new incentives for electric vehicles.

Nancy Pelosi has consistently denied that she has any knowledge of, or involvement with, her husband’s trading activity. (RELATED: Five Times Billionaires Messed With The Stock Market For Personal Gain)

Some Democrats in the House introduced the Ban Conflicted Trading Act last year, which would prohibit members of Congress or their senior staff from trading stocks or sitting on corporate boards while they are in office.

Several Republicans in Congress, most notably North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, have come under fire in recent years for their trading activity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics called on both to resign, but little has been publicly said from member of either party about the financial activity of the Pelosis, who are now one of the richest couples on Capitol Hill. (RELATED: Jeff Bezos Surpasses $200 Billion Net Worth Mark Amid Coronavirus Pandemic)