Nancy Pelosi’s Recent Stock Purchase Raises Ethical and Legal Questions

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Nancy Pelosi’s latest financial disclosures, revealed over the weekend, show that she purchased 25 Tesla call options with a $500 strike price and an expiration date of 3/12/2022 on December 22, 2020, paying between $500,000 and $1 million for the option.

There were other purchases of AllianceBernstein Holdings, Apple, and Walt Disney on the disclosure, but the Tesla purchase is raising eyebrows, as Chris Katje of Yahoo! Finance noted, “as arguments could be made that the companies stand to benefit from new President Joe Biden’s agenda.”

On Monday, Joe Biden announced his “Buy American” executive order that includes a plan to replace the U.S. government’s fleet of cars and trucks with U.S.-assembled electric vehicles. Tesla, General Motors, and Nissan all produce electric vehicles in the United States.

Why is this important? The ethical issue surrounding members of Congress buying individual stocks is hardly new. Former Georgia Senator David Perdue was accused of unethical stock purchases while he was in Congress. He was, however, investigated and cleared of wrongdoing. Former Congressman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), however, was sentenced to 26 months in prison for giving his son an illegal stock tip about an Australian biotech company’s failed drug trial before that information had been made public.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, signed into law in 2012, prohibits the use of non-public information for profit by members of Congress and government employees. Did Pelosi have insider knowledge that Joe Biden was going to replace the government’s vehicle fleet with American-made electric vehicles?

Without a doubt, such a thing would be difficult to prove. Joe Biden’s environmental agenda alone would likely have been enough for plenty of people to consider investing in various green energy companies and manufacturers of electric vehicles. But that doesn’t make the purchase less suspicious, and an investigation to determine whether Pelosi broke the law is, at the very least, warranted here.