Stench of corruption: Nancy Pelosi buys Big Tech call options

Nancy Pelosi has grown very rich while in public office.  She's amassed a reported $120-million fortune on a $223,500 annual congressional salary.

And like Hillary Clinton, she's an expert stock picker.  In her case, she trades a lot on stocks of companies she writes the laws for, and somehow, it always seems to go her way.

Last year, her pick was Tesla.  This year?  All about Big Tech.

She's laying the money down.  According to Mediaite:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) placed up to $3 million in bets this month on a handful of companies to succeed in 2022 — including Google, SalesForce, and Disney.

Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, put the money on call options in the four-day period from Dec. 17–21, according to disclosures made public on Thursday by the House Clerk. Their largest investment was for call options for SalesForce, valued at $500,000 to $1.250 million. The  options came with a strike price of $210 on Jan. 20, 2023, compared to $65 as of Dec. 29. Google ranked as their second-highest investment, with $500,000-$1 million for calls at a strike price of $2,000 on Sept. 16, 2022, compared to $109 on Thursday.

Other investments included $250,000-$500,000 on call options for Micron Technology, at a strike price of $50 on Sept. 16, 2022; the same amount for calls on Roblox, at a price of $100 on Jan. 20, 2023; and $100,000-$250,000 for calls on Disney at $130 on Sept. 16, 2022.

The disclosures, which members of Congress are required to file, reveal monetary ranges for their investments, but not exact figures.

The Pelosis, both 81, have developed a reputation for prophetic ability when it comes to picking stocks. Their trades last made headlines in January, when they purchased between $500,000 and $1 million in call options in Tesla at a strike price of $500. That stock hit a new historical high last month in excess of $1,200.

To explain those options — what she's betting is that a company like Google's stock price is going to rise and be at a certain level.  When she buys an option, she's buying a derivative that gives her the right, but not obligation, to purchase that stock at a certain "strike price," meaning she thinks everyone else is going to have to buy it at a higher price.  That's where the money is to be made.  In the case of Google, she's betting the price of a share of that company will be well above what it is now (currently at around $2,900 today) by the strike price date of Sept. 16, 2022.  But she will have the right to buy it cheaper, which should be very profitable should she decide to sell it afterward.  For instance, and to take a hypothetical example, if the share price of Google goes up to $3,000, and she exercises her call option to buy her share at $2,000, well, she can then sell the share at a $1,000 profit, which is a nice piece of cake.  The price of the call option is not the same as the price of the stock since it's a derivative of the stock.  According to Investopedia:

The price difference between the underlying stock price and the strike price determines an option's value. For buyers of a call option, if the strike price is above the underlying stock price, the option is out of the money (OTM). In this case, the option doesn't have intrinsic value, but it may still have value based on volatility and time until expiration as either of these two factors could put the option in the money in the future. Conversely, If the underlying stock price is above the strike price, the option will have intrinsic value and be in the money.

A $2,000 call, versus a previous $109 call price?  She obviously thinks Google is in for some good times.

According to Mediaite, she's really good at this:

By some estimate, Pelosi and her husband made a 45.59 percent return on stocks last year, along with a 66.7 percent return on options trading. 

Most fund managers would kill to make those kinds of returns.  These are comparable to the kinds of profits only art geniuses such as Hunter Biden can make on their "output," while real artists make quite a bit less. 

See the problem?

And sure enough, the New York Post has reported that Pelosi herself is blocking legislation that would force Google and some of the other tech baronies to level their playing fields on commercial search results.  The Post ran this on Nov. 4:

As a bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers mounts a battle to rein in Big Tech, some insiders say it faces a formidable and possibly surprising obstacle: Nancy Pelosi.

The 81-year-old Democratic House majority leader has made symbolic gestures to defy Silicon Valley such as refusing to take calls from Mark Zuckerberg and declaring 2019 that “the era of self-regulation is over.”

Nevertheless, insiders say she’s slow-walking legislation, including a so-called “non-discrimination bill” that would put a major dent in tech firms including Google and Amazon. The proposal would prohibit the practice of the companies giving their own products favorable treatment in search results.

The bill — sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) — was one of six that passed the House Judiciary Committee in June. A nearly-identical companion bill sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was introduced last month in the Senate and is gaining steam. 

That sounds a little funny now that Pelosi is laying money down on where she thinks the price of Google's stock is going to be.

Pelosi herself has defended these smelly moves, the idea of Congress members trading on stocks in industries they make laws for, as the work of a "free market economy" (free for whom?) while the tech barons at Twitter have banned a popular Twitter page called Nancy Pelosi Portfolio Tracker, or @NancyTracker which must have bothered Pelosi mightily.

Now we see one last galloping call in favor of Big Tech, which she is all too willing to go to bat for in Congress and, given Big Tech's heavy-handed censorship and other manipulations of the 2020 U.S. election, she obviously owes political favors to.

See how this works?  She ought to be forced by a bipartisan group of Squadsters and Republicans to hold a vote on the measure she's blocking this year.  And come November, Republicans at the helm should put a stop to this kind of activity, and send in the special counsels to investigate these curious investing activities of Pelosi's.  It ought to be Item A on the agenda.

Image: Gage Skidmore via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.

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