By Caroline Downey, National Review
All five members of the progressive Squad are choosing to stay silent on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s defense of the right of lawmakers to hold and trade stocks while serving, despite their vehement opposition to the practice in the past.
When asked at a press briefing whether she believes legislators should be allowed to invest in equities while in office, Pelosi replied, “We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that.”
The offices of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Cori Bush did not respond to a request for comment on what appears to be substantial difference of opinion between the progressive caucus and leadership.
As recently as a week ago, Ocasio-Cortez advocated for barring members of Congress from buying and selling stocks while in their posts, implying the risk of politics-facilitated insider trading, securities fraud, and public corruption. There is no ban yet on the books, meaning lawmakers are free to engage in active investing.
“It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office,” she tweeted. “The access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn’t be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have.”
Pelosi has come under fire in the past for her husband’s lucrative stock trading, which has elevated the House speaker to one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with $46,123,051 in total assets, most of which comes from her husband’s financial dealings, a Business Insider analysis found.
While Pelosi herself has only reported her home in Napa, Calif. and a small checking account as assets, her husband’s investment portfolio has included companies like Slack, Tesla, Disney, Visa, Salesforce, PayPal, Alphabet, Facebook, and Netflix, all of which spend tens of millions of dollars lobbying the federal government each year.
Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi, reiterated to the publication that the speaker personally does not have any equity exposure, although he did not address the more ambiguous conflict of interest of the couple’s combined wealth.
Read more at National Review.