“There’s no reason members of Congress should be trading stocks or, specifically, stock options … like the Pelosis do,” argues the author of “Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison.”
Peter Schweizer, author of the 2011 book “Throw Them All Out,” said it’s still “very hard” to prove a member of Congress has engaged in insider trading despite the passage of the STOCK Act almost 10 years ago.
Schweizer called on Congress to ban lawmakers from buying and selling individual stocks.
“What they essentially did was loosen the law where it described insider trading,” he told the John Solomon Reports podcast. “It’s very, very hard now to prove that an elected official is engaged in insider trading. That part of the law is almost meaningless. And even as it applies to the frequency of disclosures, as you’ve pointed out, a lot of them just fail to file those reports.”
According to a recent NPR report, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have failed to disclose stock purchases that they or their spouse made. Disclosure is required under the STOCK Act.
Schweizer noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband has purchased a great deal of tech stock this year. According to a Forbes report in July, Paul Pelosi made millions on “timely” bets on Big Tech stock purchases in advance of an antitrust bill stalling in the House. Retail traders are reportedly tracking Pelosi’s trades to decide which to buy.
“They still sort of continue to blatantly trade in stocks,” Schweizer said. “So in the case of the Pelosis, for example, she’s the Speaker of the House, legislation that’s going to affect Big Tech in a positive way or big contracts going to Big Tech, her husband’s not only buying and selling stock in Big Tech, he’s actually buying options, which are sort of leveraged bets that the stock is going to go one way or the other. And, of course, Paul Pelosi Sr. just happens to be really good at making those predictions.”
A “60 Minutes” special from 2012 on CBS News titled “Insiders: The Road to the STOCK Act” was largely based on Schweizer’s reporting.