Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is known for his populist politics, so it’s not much of a surprise that he’s siding with day traders in the recent GameStop short squeeze.
The Missouri Republican is calling for an investigation into possible “collusion” between Big Tech and Wall Street to shut out unwanted competition, Fox News reported.
Hawley calls for probe of Big Tech
Hawley was among those who cried foul last week when the trading app Robinhood limited traders to selling their GameStop shares, amidst a short squeeze driven by retail traders on Reddit.
The short squeeze became a rallying cry for populists such as Hawley, who called it a response to a financial system rigged against the little guy, and the perceived clampdown against day traders raised suspicions of collaboration between hedge funds and tech companies.
On Fox News’ America Reports Tuesday, Hawley called for a probe into whether tech companies like Robinhood and Discord “are acting in concert with these big hedge funds.”
“I think we do have to absolutely get all of the facts, which is one of the reasons that I haven’t called for any new steps by Congress yet, because I think we need to figure out exactly what has gone on here,” he said.
“Because I can tell you, if these tech platforms are acting in concert with these big hedge funds to protect those huge entities and shut down day traders and retail investors, that’s a big, big problem, and I think it needs to be called out,” Hawley continued.
Hawley slams double standard
Hawley also said that Treasury Secretary and former Fed chair Janet Yellen has to answer for conflicts of interest involving the hedge fund Citadel.
“Is she in violation of her ethics pledge? She said that she would recuse herself from anything involving Citadel … and yet … the fact that she’s monitoring the situation, she’s part of this. She needs to stay true to her ethics,” he said.
Whatever an investigation may uncover, Hawley has made it pretty clear that his sympathies are not with Big Finance, remarking that day traders have taken more criticism in recent days than “the people who single-handedly crashed the entire financial system in 2008 and then got bailed out for it.”
He added that the GameStop phenomenon evinces popular anger with the financial system. “The rules ought to be the same for everybody,” he said.
Hawley continued, “You see these big banks, these hedge funds, they’re fine with this casino-like behavior, so long as they benefit.”