Critics raise issues over Pelosi's 2023 stock performance

 January 6, 2024

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) reportedly achieved a 65% profit on her stock trading portfolio in 2023, as per an analysis of House of Representatives financial disclosure records conducted by Unusual Whales.

Pelosi and her husband Paul, a venture capitalist based in San Francisco, have been recognized for their jointly held stock portfolio, which has shown significant profits in recent years.

The gains

The gains in 2023 were attributed to trading options contracts, outperforming the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index by 40%, according to Unusual Whales.

The Pelosi portfolio's profits surpassed those of some of the largest hedge funds in the U.S.

For comparison, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund, experienced a 7.6% loss in 2023, while Millennium Management gained 10%, and Citadel LLC, associated with Republican donor Ken Griffin, gained 15.3%. None of these hedge funds outpaced the S&P 500.

The criticisms

Critics, including Jeff Hauser, the director of the Revolving Door Project, raised concerns about Pelosi's trading activities, suggesting a potential connection to quasi-insider trading.

“It’s a sign of quasi-insider trading that’s corrupt and should be banned – it’s either an addiction to risk or a sign of corruption,” said Jeff Hauser, the director of the Revolving Door Project.

“There are teams of people at sophisticated hedge funds that exist to find minor arbitrage opportunities to make a profit. It’s preposterous to think they are finding profit where Bridgewater or Renaissance Capital is missing it," he added.

Pelosi's trading history drew attention previously when it was revealed that her husband had traded stocks in Nvidia, a semiconductor manufacturing company, before Pelosi played a role in passing the CHIPS Act through the House.

The legislation allocated billions of dollars in subsidies for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. Despite controversies, Pelosi defended Congress's right to participate in the free market economy, expressing opposition to a ban on elected officials trading stocks.

Other big traders

While Pelosi's 65% profit marked a significant financial gain, she did not claim the top spot among successful traders in Congress.

Democratic Representative Brian Higgins of New York led the list with a remarkable 239% profit in 2023, with other Congress members from both parties posting strong gains.

The substantial returns reported by Pelosi and other lawmakers have prompted calls from some members of Congress, including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, to prohibit elected officials from engaging in stock trading and other financial instruments.

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