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Pelosi and a lifetime of trading (unusualwhales.com)
311 points by aminozuur 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 177 comments





The article never says this, but her husband, Paul, is a longtime investor / VC [1]. There’s obviously still a huge opportunity for leakage of information that Nancy Pelosi receives, but the trades don’t actually look suspicious nor requiring non-public information.

There was some reporting on this issue more broadly when Senator Burr seemed to place trades directly due to coronavirus information, which included Pelosi’s husband’s trades.

Edit to add: I would concur with others that we probably need to restrict trading for politicians and their family, the same way we do insiders at corporations. Index funds okay, specific stocks or perceived competition, no.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Pelosi


> her husband, Paul, is a longtime investor/VC...but the trades don’t actually look suspicious

I would argue this is an even bigger red flag. Professional traders are much more aware of subtle cause & effects within the markets.

i.e. Not-yet public info about reducing tariffs on imported wheat would lower raw-material cost for bread companies, then would lower the cost for McDonald's hamburger buns, then McDonalds makes more profit this quarter...and Pelosi's husband buys a bunch of options on McDonalds, then dumps the options immediately after the info goes public.

So insider information that seems innocuous to the average person could be used and abused like crazy by professionals like Pelosi's husband.


Most of Pelosi's homerun trades involved bluechip public stocks. I don't think it's reasonable to expect a VC to have that much edge there. VCs specialize in early stage private companies. That's a very different skillset than trading options on NASDAQ.

If Paul Pelosi really had that much alpha in quarterly moves in ultra-liquid stocks like Microsoft and Disney, he'd almost certainly be a hedge fund manager.


I don't think it's so much about individual stocks. House members and especially house leaders have the ability to propose legislation or even talk about potential legislation that affects entire industries. Blue chip stock trades ahead of major legislation (ie. trading facebook before a major revision to section 230) don't matter so much about the blue chip nature.

IMO employee insiders have restrictions to trading the stocks of their company. I don't think it's overly onerous to have congresspeople disallowed from direct control over their or their immediate family's portfolios. Does that make it difficult to work in congress and have a family member working in finance? Sure, but I think that's okay.


> the trades don’t actually look suspicious nor requiring non-public information.

The purchase was made 1 month before this story[1] broke, which was a significantly market moving announcement.

There's plausible deniability, of course.

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/25/biden-plans-to-replace-gover...


Sorry, which trade are you referring to? The Dec 22 TSLA options?

Assuming yes, the disclosure report [1] says it was 25 calls with a strike price of $500 with expiration of 3/18/22 (so another long dated option). Tesla's share price that day was ~$650 [2] and the value of the 500 call went up (from ~$200 to $400) but has come right back down to ~$200 [3]. They have not exercised / sold the options (visit [4] and search for Pelosi in Filing Year 2021).

[1] https://disclosures-clerk.house.gov/public_disc/ptr-pdfs/202...

[2] https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/TSLA/history/

[3] https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/TSLA220318C00500000?p=TSLA22...

[4] https://disclosures-clerk.house.gov/PublicDisclosure/Financi...


Which purchase?

> Index funds okay, specific stocks or perceived competition, no.

I think for people in high office, even controlling when to move in or out of index funds is also inappropriate. Congress has both information and makes choices which have broad impact across the economy.

But to your first point, that this "doesn't actually look suspicious", I'll only mention that classic "indicators of suspicion" in a criminal context are motive, means and opportunity, all of which seem to be present.

But to broaden the conversation, the main implied concern is did she profit through use of non-public information. While I think that's a worthy concern, I think perhaps the more important one is whether the holdings of congress overall tilt the policies they enact. This extends beyond stocks (where even members who are limited to index funds may be disinclined to, e.g. push for limits or rules surrounding buybacks etc), to areas like how real estate holdings impact housing policy stances.


Wasn't Pelosi the cause/reason congress isn't allowed to insider trade anymore because of that 60 Minutes piece? [1]

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/video/confronting-pelosi-on-insider-...


Pelosi is vile. Martha Stewart got a hard slap on the wrist for lying, I believe Pelosi is guilty of much more serious crimes. She has zero integrity.

> the trades don’t actually look suspicious nor requiring non-public information

The consistent beating of the odds is what makes it suspicious.

If you roll 12 with two dice, it is not suspicious. If you do it 10 times in a row, my trust is gone!


Instead of fixating that Pelosi made more than others I think right question is, why someone who actually can impact stock options and also has information not available to the public is allowed to trade?

The STOCK Act is supposed to prevent this. But the same politicians who passed the law and had the media cover it as much as possible, then later quietly passed another that the law would not be enforced.

Do you have a reference to the specific legal code which includes the amendment?

Thanks for coming through on this ask. I'm having a hard time finding it, and it's a point of contention I plan on raising with Virginia legislators if any of them voted in favor.


Here you go. Happened in 2013 under Obama:

But on Monday, when the president signed a bill reversing big pieces of the law, the emailed announcement was one sentence long. There was no fanfare last week either, when the Senate and then the House passed the bill in largely empty chambers using a fast-track procedure known as unanimous consent.

https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2013/04/16/17749...


Thanks, this is helpful.

It's exceptionally unlikely that I'll be able to spur meaningful change, but I'll try to have an update in December. (Posting for accountability)


why make it partisan by mentioning obama like he had anything to do with it as this was passed unanimously by both the senate and the house.

just like when someone says "bill clinton repealed glass stegal" no he signed it when it was passed through by veto proof margins with only 2 people dissenting in the senate... he just happened to be the president at the time.


Because he could veto it.

you understand vetos are something congress can override right?

Vetoing the bill would have at least made the passage more notable, and likely required there to have been more than thirty seconds of debate on the topic. Making them override a veto has some value.

again it's not a partisan issue... literally both parties are passing these bills almost unanimously. it's a class issue i'll give you but not a partisan one.

Vetoing sends a message and as others have said would at least force the media to talk about it.


I've often wondered about this. It's mind boggling that this is allowed. A congressman can short oil stocks and the very next day propose a large tax on oil producers then promptly cash out, and be completely within the bounds of the law.

I don't think it's mindboggling at all. It makes perfect sense that lawmakers would not make laws that negatively affect lawmakers.

I also think that the amount of nonpublic information that congresscritters have access to is substantially overblown. The fact that they can pass laws affecting the industries is a bigger lever, in my view.


I guess what surprises me is how nakedly unethical it is. I'm not shocked that people in positions of significant power would use that power to enrich themselves unfairly. I am shocked at how little effort they make to hide it.

Because we’ve seen so many times that there are no consequences for this. Some people might get a bit mad, but it’s not like there are huge protests demanding change or cohorts voting out politicians who partake. If all politicians across the political spectrum also support it, what choice do people have at the polls?

Isn't "inside knowledge of upcoming new laws" a kind of non public information?

... but it's a pretty big lever. And they don't even have to pass the laws; a person in position of authority can shock a market with a credible threat to take an action.

Such a tool was actually used to disrupt a rice panic once. Without releasing any surplus, an announced joint intent to release surplus drove speculators out of the market. https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/11/04/142016962/the-...


I remember Hillary Clinton doing that in 2016 with a single sabre-rattling tweet about the pharma industry.

Obama made some suggestions about normalizing relations with Iran and all the defense stocks went crazy though nothing ever came of it

Politicians suggesting things impacts the market all the time.


One feeds the other. Their position of power is the reason people tell them so much. Given their returns, either members of The Congress are more brilliant than any Wall Street fund manager, or they're cheating.

Because they are also the person that would write the rule that they aren't allowed to trade.

That's obviously the point of pointing out how "lucky" her investments are.

Because when they pass laws prohibiting certain types of activities, they almost always exclude themselves.

Anyone with enough power and influence can impact stock options, and everyone has some information not available to the public. For example, Kanye West could buy calls on Uggs, then go out to lunch wearing some Uggs, then sell the calls after it hits the tabloids. Laws applying only to politicians would not stop anyone else from influencing stocks, and would only restrict the types of people choosing to become politicians, reducing the quality of politicians by causing people with better options not to bother.

My sense is that this is one of those feel-good things, like setting politician salaries to a low level, which doesn't actually do anything to improve the quality of government.


A single celebrity attempting to manipulate the stocks they own via public perception is a fundamentally different thing than a bunch of politicians using their legal power to manipulate the stocks they own for their own personal gain.

I guess this can sort of flow two ways, though. A politician might know a law is coming up, and so buy a stock that is going to benefit from it: your argument is convincing there. But they might also hold a stock, and because of that they might feel more strongly one way or the other about a particular law: that feels like a problem to me.

Unfortunately there is bleed through between these, and no good way to distinguish the two except ok a case by case basis, which seems to me like a credible argument for forbidding all trading.


She's the Speaker of the House. The House that passes legislation that allows to do it. You have to start somewhere.

No idea why you're getting downvoted when this is literally what they did. They had laws and then quickly bypassed it.

Bias

I think that is what they are implying with this information.

Because these people are corrupt and want to make money. Its basically as simple as that.

Both questions are valid.

Not all representatives enrich themselves like this.


Because her husband makes the trades lol.

Pretty much none of the political/self-dealing/disqualified person financial laws apply to spouses. (This is distinct from private sector insider trading laws)

It's super easy, barely an inconvenience!


Nancy Pelosi's husband is CEO of a investment firm. It shouldn't be that surprising that she tops the list for investments.

As others online have pointed out, despite an above average year, her portfolio is still underperforming an S&P 500 index fund with the dividends reinvested.

Should politicians be forced to put their assets in a blind trust while in office? Yeah, probably. But I don't think I will indict Pelosi's slightly above average year of investments as evidence of anything in particular.


Regardless of returns, buying TSLA leap options is a terrible look and breaks down trust in institutions. How am I supposed to look at that and just trust that she isn’t influencing policy with her options trades in mind?

It’s not even about evidence of illegal actions, she’s a public official and part of her job is to build trust with the public.


> breaks down trust in institutions.

This is why avoiding the appearance of impropriety is almost as important as avoiding impropriety itself. When you do things that people might reasonably mistake for unethical, it contributes to the perception that such unethical behavior is commonplace. That, in turn, might inspire others to actually behave unethically, or alternatively to despair that they live in such a society. Either is socially harmful.


Again, I don't disagree with you on this. I think public officials should put their assets in a blind trust, and many of them already do.

>buying TSLA leap options is a terrible look and breaks down trust in institutions

What is unusual about her spouse buying TSLA options? I'd say that the TSLA CEO has been more influential over the TSLA price than any new legislation.


She's the Speaker of the House. Outstanding legislation proposed by the President of the United States (a member of her political party) would subsidize the electric vehicle sector to the tune of $174 billion.

If you don't think this gives rise to the appearance of impropriety, then what precisely does?


>would subsidize the electric vehicle sector to the tune of $174 billion

The U.S. infrastructure deal was unanimously supported by all members of the house, not just the speaker.

This type of uncertainty/doubt argument can go both ways. Her spouse lost money on that specific option call, so that could also be proof she didn't use her influence.


> The U.S. infrastructure deal was unanimously supported

No it wasn't. By all members with a (D) after the name who she leads, perhaps, and some others, but not all.

> that could also be proof she didn't use her influence

I don't find this a compelling enough argument that it would likely restore the public's lost trust in these institutions.


>I don't find this a compelling enough argument that it would likely restore the public's lost trust in these institutions.

Which is precisely the point of how illogical it is.


What about public spending on electrical charging infrastructure?

What about reduced regulation of the franchise car dealership model at the federal level?

Those might have a 'lil bit of an effect.


She is one of the most powerful legislators in the country. If she lobbying and pushed for EV credits for instance, it could greatly affect the price of the stock. If she were to put up roadblocks to block inquiries into Tesla safety concerns or issues of the sort, it could prevent massive price changes in the stock.

Just because Elon Musk has more power over the stock does not exonerate her from buying potentially massively lucrative options on a stock that she has power to affect. My understanding is she is not under the same restrictions as a CEO would be when trading that ticker, and she also has entirely different incentives than CEO's do. CEO's have the incentive to make the company perform well because their compensation is tied to the share price. Nancy Pelosi in this case has the incentive to rule favorably for Tesla because her options will benefit from it. Those incentives are very very different.


>Nancy Pelosi's husband is CEO of a investment firm. It shouldn't be that surprising that she tops the list for investments.

I don't know if you're using this as an argument to favor Pelosi, because this, if anything, is only another conflict of interest on top of where she's currently at.

The disclosure and use of insider information from public companies can get you in big trouble, even if you're married to the people involved.

There's a reason why CEOs (and the like) take HUGE caution measures when liquidating stock and try to involve family as least as possible.


"80% of US Fund Managers Underperform S&P 500 Over 5 years"

http://www.ginsglobal.com/articles/80-of-us-fund-managers-un...


And 87% over 15 years fail to beat the s&p500. With a >10yr investment horizon 100% in VTSAX is the way to go IMO. Then just calculate your budget and start to sell into treasury bonds at the 10 year mark based on how much money is needed.

They should probably teach FIRE in high school, but of course not you got to keep everyone enslaved to debt and learning about ancient history.


> her portfolio is still underperforming an S&P 500 index fund with the dividends reinvested

Can you expand on this? The article indicates her one year returns were considerably higher than the S&P 500 last year.


One year does not mean anything. If she is beating S&P 500 over 20 or 30 years, then there is a problem.

Their returns all time in office are worse.

> Nancy Pelosi's husband is CEO of a investment firm. It shouldn't be that surprising that she tops the list for investments.

Does that mean majority of CEOs of investment firms "top[ped] the list for investments" during that time?


No, but it should be obvious that it is a relevant data point to consider. If the article was about number of pool installations by congress members, and you left out that the husband of one of the members owned a pool installation company and you are going by numbers of pools installed by their families, not just the congress members themselves, it would be a pretty big omission.

Yes, for 2020, almost every investment firm had amazing returns.

Do other CEOs of investment firms have similar returns?

That she invests a lot, nothing weird there.

That her investments do so well? That's another story.


Apparently they should be put in a blind trust for their own financial well being!

I am shocked that politicians are even allowed to trade options, I feel like shorting stocks and option trading should be off the table once you are elected to office.

I think there'd be room for covered calls & married puts in a politician's portfolio. The "collar" strategy is great for preserving one's capital. They should still be managed in blind trusts, though.

Her husband is making these trades and he’s a longtime active investor and VC.

Did most "longtime active investor and VC[s]" make so much money?

Yes? The markets have had ridiculous returns in the reporting period and the spousal investments are not unusual.

Some do, some don’t. Either way, attributing Nancy Pelosi’s wealth to Something akin to insider trading, when her worth is largely derived from her husband’s investment firm, is torturing the truth just a little bit.

Unless politicians outperform the market in general…

Oops. They do.


Last year? I think in general yes, very much yes.

Last year? Hell yes.

...which is itself a conflict of interest, obviously?

Perhaps someone could create an index fund that tracks trades by members of Congress. Though on second thought it might not be very useful since there can be quite a delay between the transaction and when it's disclosed.

It looks like they outperform the general market and hedge funds, probably not a bad idea: https://www.barrons.com/articles/SB5000142405311190443360457...

That's way more interesting than hearing that Nancy Pelosi had a good quarter. I'd be curious what the mean and median are. I can easily imagine a few key trades netting huge returns that skew the curve.

It's not a fund, but hopefully they're still up and running. https://govtrades.org/

"This is pretty incredible, for an average return of her stocks and options is 56.15%. The S&P, with its raucous best performing year, is only up 36% from last June"

Strange to compare against sp500 when her holdings are more aligned with NASDAQ, up ~50% from last June.


Hey man they are trying to make news and get clicks. Doing a favorable comparison isn’t going to get traffic.

The most common symbol of comparison is the s&p500, you'll usually find it as first suggested symbol among the most popular charting software (tradingview for instance)

> Her one year returns for her stocks is 45.59%, and her option returns are 66.7%.

I mean, any other year and that'd be extraordinary, but I'm just some schmuck who put my 401k mostly in a high growth index fund and I got over 70% last year. I wasn't even trying.


This is mostly her husband's trading, which probably constitutes somewhat of a loophole in the legislation controlling stock purchases by members of congress. Still, the transactions were reported as required, and trading based on insider knowledge is illegal, so he would be subject to prosecution if that's what he was doing.

The optics are bad, for sure.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-10/pelosi-hu...


"he would be subject to prosecution if that's what he was doing"

You would, so would I but history has shown he won't have to worry about that.


I suspect this is actually peanuts compared to trades made by the politicians' friends (aka proxies) that aren't disclosed anywhere.

Not sure why the % returns really matter here.

Even if you lose money, insider trading is still insider trading. Congress + senators 100% receive insider information. Even if its not near-term merger announcements or big federal contracts - they still have an extremely advantaged position and access to information that the general public doesn't have.

Its ridiculous that they can trade individual stocks, yet alone options.

They should be restricted from buying individual stocks, and should only be allowed to buy mutual funds and ETFs at a minimum. Pretty much any employee on Wall Street (even if "back-office") has similar restrictions.

I don't even know why this is a question - the optics of short-term levered bets from elected officials (or family of) is terrible. Completely ruins any resemblance of "public service."

Even with this, it might not be enough. Elected officials could still buy the TQQQ ETF (3x leverage on NASDAQ) prior to a stimulus bill passing. It would be too onerous to not allow any stock exposure, but maybe they should be required to disclose trades in real-time vs. at the end of every quarter.


Sounds like smart insider trading. I know some forums only accessible via the TOR network that trade insider info. Your first post is for verification, the ones after for either selling them or trading with others. If you trade your company's quarterly numbers with numbers from another company it's nearly impossible to proof that you used insider information.

IMHO the whole system needs a reformation. You should only be allowed to invest long-term, at least one month, probably years. Day trading and option contracts enable illegal insider trading.


I wonder if politicians should be required to share their portfolios in real time. Then the rest of us could buy index funds based on their trading habits.

PelosiBot

I'd be fine with politicians being paid more if it was completely illegal (with prison time) for them or their partners to do this.

Seems like the system is built in a way that encourages them to insider trade and throw kickbacks around to maximize their wealth while in power and after.


Writing regulation policy is one hell of a way to perform insider trading. Why is this legal?

"Most of Pelosi's gains are quite interesting, given the timing of her plays. For example, she was able to get into TSLA, DIS around stimulus news, NVDA before American Semiconductor funding was announced, among a long list of interesting picks. Mr. Whale leaves it to the reader to check her transactions and the news around her purchases (all available for free on the platform). She also timed the NFLX buys on June 18th perfectly. It was released on July 14th that NFLX is entering the videogame space, causing the stock to rally significantly."


Many years ago, 60 minutes interviewed her about these kind of dealings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReZ7DdT5ZoI


They sold Amazon calls going into COVID. A call is a right to buy so selling a call means you have an obligation to sell the stock to the buyer at the strike price on or before the expiry (assuming American option). Can’t see the strike price or expiry but there is no way they didn’t lose money on that trade since Amazon was up up up and away every month after that and it would have had to be way out of the money not to trigger. In other words, not a particularly heads up trade.

Oh and looking more closely, this methodology is super poor (though I’m sympathetic to the challenge with the disclosure format).

Basically, by assuming that all the trades were the maximum of the range (and per trade), it’s overweighting the PayPal and Crowdstrike performance and downweighting the MSFT and GOOG “under performance” (they bought GOOG near the top?).

I don’t follow why most of the Feb 20 options aren’t being valued either. Those were the “scandalous” trades. And they were all (IIRC), 1-year out LEAPs or something. Seemed a reasonable thing at the time! (“People are panicking, buy now and assume it’s back to normal in a year”).

Has someone done a more careful analysis? (At the very least, I strongly doubt that the positions would be the same between the crowd strike and MSFT shares, and that the MSFT shares were purchased alongside the MSFT options as a hedge).

Edit: And umm, all the options trades are listed explicitly as the number of contracts purchased. So people can easily look up the VWAP or similar for the purchase date and get a real number...


Elected & appointed govt workers and their immediate families shouldn't be permitted to buy/sell any stock while in office or 5 years following.

And they shouldn't be allowed to take jobs/money (including "speaking fees", a.k.a. bribes) from publicly owned corporations for 15 years after leaving public office.


Studying Pelosi’s portfolio is one of the key strategies every trader should know by now.

I have made a lot of money following her trades, particularly when she jumped in on Crowdstrike right before the government security hacks.

This lady can tell the future. /s


Why are all of the members of Congress extremely wealthy? Doesn't seem particularly representative of the general population. Members of the UK Parliament are generally upper-class, but they're not all extremely wealthy.

They aren't all extremely wealthy. The powerful committee leaders, majority and minority leaders, etc. generally are because they are the ones who choose which issues will make it to general debate and vote, so they are the ones who have the ability to influence markets.

Some random young representative from the middle of nowhere has almost no influence in congress. It takes years and powerful backers to develop that. Part of the argument for term limits is to prevent people from making a career out of being a representative or senator, which is what you need to do accumulate power.


Far beyond limiting what members of congress or other high office holders can invest in while in office, I think the ideal should be that public office holders must play a Rawlsian gamble: when they leave office, we select a random citizen, and their level of wealth is wiped to match that citizen. Excess goes to a fund for public campaign financing.

Not only should politicians not be incentivized to select policies which benefit them specifically, but they should be incentivized to select policies which materially benefit the population overall.


Interesting that DelBene is also so high on the list but not really mentioned at all

"Her husband, Kurt DelBene, is Chief Digital Officer and EVP of Corporate Strategy, Core Services Engineering and Operations at Microsoft Corporation,[33] and led the effort to fix the Healthcare.gov website at the request of President Barack Obama.[34]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzan_DelBene#Personal_life


In the same way that CEOs trades are planned months in advance and happen regardless of the market, we should make Congress people should have to do the same

I wouldnt be against members of congress trading stocks as long as the trades were published at the end of every day after market close.

Is there a place where you can get info on her/her husband's trades in real time? Cuz I kinda want to write a bot now ;)

No, the reporting delay between when trades are made and then made public is something like ~1 month, IIRC.

That would be a great time barrier to remove.

This is honestly the only hope I have that Congress won't mess with with Capital Gains taxes... they win too much from it.

Just an observation: IF we take it as GIVEN that policymakers are going to find a way to earn some fixed amount X which is greater than their salary (this is a big assumption and probably not true, but just for a thought experiment)

THEN maybe making money from stock options is actually better than taking money from lobbyists? Lawmakers can make money from both hurting and helping companies, so it doesn't create a particular incentive to go out and help PARTICULAR companies (that said, there is an incentive to create volatility, which isn't great). Meanwhile, lobbying tends to advantage some of the least ethical companies (e.g. Opiods, fossil fuels) because the only incentive is to HELP the company at the expense of customers.

To be clear, I don't think it's right for lawmakers to make any more by virtue of their position than the salaries set forth by the law. I'm just saying that of the several unethical ways they can make money, stock options have incentives least misaligned with the public good.


Making money through insider trading is very maligned with the public good. One it is essentially using the stock market as a mechanism to transfer wealth from unknowing public traders to insider traders, if they're making money they're making it off of someone. Two, because of this, it creates the existential risk of a lose of trust in the public markets which can lead to their collapse. It's a real case of who watches the watchmen though because insider trading laws were, of course, created by congress itself.

>I'm just saying that of the several unethical ways they can make money, stock options have incentives least misaligned with the public good.

You are assuming that said laws are for the public good and not the good of lobbyists. I would guess this happens more often than not: politicians pass a law that is for lobbyists and against the public good, then make money buying stock against the reaction of said law.

"Never trust a politician," is probably as old as civilization, why do we think ours are any better?

Oh, and when the system finally crumbles from under all the rot, guess who suffers and who doesn't. I'll give a hint, the people who control the police and criminal justice system won't be the ones suffering.


Is there an ETF where I can invest in the same things politicians are investing in?

No because if there was and it did outperform the market, the returns would quickly evaporate as more and more people rushed in to invest in that ETF.

And yet strategy ETFs still exist

Sorry if this is a stupid question - I've only seen options as a compensation mechanism. Can you buy options on the open market just like shares? If not, how do politicians end up with options?

An "option" is a generic name for a contract that gives you the option of doing something in the future. The stock options employees get as part of their compensation and the options stock traders deal in (a financial instrument) are very specific forms of those kinds of contracts.

The "options as a compensation mechanism" are primarily due to the tax efficiency of options as a whole.

The options contract market is massive, in the public markets they are fungible and actively tradeable. In private equity markets they are mostly limited to compensation mechanisms.


Of course, they are a huge market. You can do it with most brokers including robinhood.

Not only can you buy options, you can also write the contract and sell it on the market.


Options are probably the most common mechanism for a person to leverage themselves. An out-of-the-money option will yield far more than simply buying a single share. That said, it's a lot more risky.

There's loads of different options. A quick introduction:

https://www.investopedia.com/options-basics-tutorial-4583012


This is what "kids" on Robinhood were doing the last year or so.

Yes, you can purchase (and sell) options via many brokerage websites. Robinhood became quite popular because it made it very easy via an app for the masses.

Yes you can buy options, however, you need a different type of brokerage account to trade options. I believe there is a high minimum amount, a few hundred thousands, to open an account that is able to trade options.

You can trade options with just a couple of bucks or on margin. You don't need a bunch of cash. I've done it on Robinhood and bought some calls for a few hundred bucks.

The best way to predict the future is to make it.

+56% vs the S&P's +36%. This does not look "suspicious", from a purely statistical point of view.

Especially considering this is a multiple testing issue. When checking a lot of politicians there is likely going to be someone who is doing really well, even if it's just by chance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_comparisons_problem


As a single data point I agree, I wonder if there is a long term view. Especially something that tracks before office, during office, after office.

I'll have what she's having.

Being up 56% in a year when the SPX went up 36% is hardly "incredible".

You didnt annualize the returns. Its possibly over 1000%.

Gotta love financially illiterate HN. He made over 100% on the trade in something like 1 month. 100% * 12 is over 1000%


Shouldn't HN steer clear of things like this with a political slant? She is a very divisive figure and I don't see how this sort of article makes HN better.

This could be viewed as activism against all parties

> In the House and the Senate reports Mr. Whale showed that both parties, no matter their allegiance, seem to be trading and often legislating to benefit their own positions.


The political climate has piqued my interest in the workings of the US government. I appreciate helpful HN commenters that provide information that I don't have time to research.

That ship sailed a long time ago.

Information is valuable. Crazy idea: have no-comment threads.

Congress has some of the richest people in America. I’ve always been intrigued by that.

The country was founded by people who thought taxation without representation was worth fighting a war over, but also thought it completely obvious that they didn't mean representation for poor people (imagine! Poor people with a say in government!), so denied them the franchise. And of course there was the whole thing where it was legal for some folks to own other folks.

But taxation (of rich people) without representation (for rich people)? Oh, intolerable! Better go to war over that injustice. Pay some poor people to kill each other over it (then forget to pay the bill, naturally).

250ish years later and rich people only de facto run the government, rather than de jure. Progress, I suppose.


Is it your assertion that the poor did not consume tea in late 1700's America? I always assumed the Sons of Liberty had both wealthy and more middle class members.

> Is it your assertion that the poor did not consume tea in late 1700's America?

The Tea Act was (among other things) intended to, and probably did, lower the price of tea in America. It hurt smugglers and tea importers.

> I always assumed the Sons of Liberty had both wealthy and more middle class members.

Any non-landowners who participated (were there many?) got had, then, since they couldn't vote under the original constitution and state laws at the time. They also didn't get a say in the drafting of the constitution or in ratifying it (I mean, obviously, who wants them stinking up the place?)

"But they got representation—just not the right to vote, or to run for many offices" Sure, but that's awfully close to an argument from the other side of the Atlantic, that rich British citizens in America didn't find convincing when it was applied to them:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_representation

[EDIT] All I'm saying is, we're a country the founding principle of which is basically "it's not who your parents are that make you worthwhile—it's having money". That was the fundamental disagreement between the Colonies (that is: the people who drove us to war, and who formed the government afterward) and Britain. Given our veneration of that founding, it's unsurprising that a country still operating under a constitution drafted by slavers and drug smugglers would tend, perhaps even more than other places, to be run by particularly scummy rich people with little shame about the shady ways they make their money.


Google tells me that Rick Scott from Florida is the richest at a net worth of $260 million. Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't all that wealthy.

In the grands scheme of things.. it's extremely wealthy.

The top 1% make 500k The top .01 make 18 million.

260 millions put Rick in a world of his own.

Only 16,000 families make at least 7 mlion a year.


You seem to be confusing make per year, and total net worth, unless you are suggesting that at 260 million net worth he would have had to make at least 10 million a year or some such.

At 3% growth they would be in that 7m group.

"Intrigued"? You mean suspicious?

Yes, deeply suspicious, I was trying to split the difference and not get political. I think it’s terrible. Members of Congress should not be allowed to own, trade, or have anything to do with the stock market. I always heard a rumor that members of Congress are always richer when they leave than when they entered. That should really piss Americans off, but it doesn’t depending on which party is in power, and which party that person subscribes to.

Edit: Grammar and Spelling


I have no issue with them owning a handful of broad ETF's like the SPY. Other than that they shouldnt be placing bets on specific parts of the economy they clearly have influence over.

I think they should be able to own an investment portfolio, but while they are in office (and perhaps after, if they engage in lobbying) it should be in a blind trust.

How do blind trusts operate? Surely you don't put in 4K of APPL shares and a couple of years later get back carrot futures or some thing.

I don't know details but in general the portfolio would be managed by a trustee, probably with a certain goal specified in advance (preservation of capital, growth, blended, etc.) the key is that the owner of the assets has no control over or knowledge of the specific investments once the trust is formed.

I don't know if a rollover into a blind trust has to involve a complete liquidation to cash to start off. That would make sense, since then there could be no assumptions about which securities the trust held.


I disagree entirely. Markets are more effecient when these high information actors are allowed to interact with it. That said, it should be far more transparent.

I do think there's dirty play here, but I think you can't realistically prevent the ownership of equity instruments by politicians. You could demand they be held in blind trusts; you could demand they be able to be long-only on broad-based mutual funds; you could make demands that they announce their trades 3 trading days before enacting them.

I think you can't realistically (and shouldn't) block them from owning equities entirely though.

You don't need to block them having anything to do with the stock market; you just need to eliminate the presence and appearance of dirty play.


Disgusting.

Nancy Pelosi is as dirty as they come. Of course she will use any advantage she can to gain wealth and power. Why this is allowed is beyond me. Martha Stewart spent time in prison for doing much less.

America is a plutocracy. Congress people (or their family) making money from their influence is about American as apple pie and pickup trucks.

It takes money to get elected and stay elected, so rich people get elected. While they take advantage of their political power while elected to make money, they also make money after being elected as well, through speaking and other means. The whole point of this process is to make money. Again, American, we like money.

So if you don't like all this, you're a socialist and bad person. Shame on you for being so un-American. Instead get some money and join the party!


She can be capitalist like you describe, she just shouldn't be allowed to serve in public office while she does it.

If you have people capitalizing on their positions in government, that's not capitalism. That's private ownership of public property, also known as kleptocracy. Insider trading is simply an indirect, historically-unprosecuted way of carrying carrying a suitcase full of cash out the front door.

Isn't this just saying that Pelosi has a good financial advisor?

Of course. Classified intelligence reports and draft legislation negotiations are a great advisor.

It looks like she bought apple, amazon and nvidia. Not exactly obscure bets.

It's the timing, not that they are popular stocks.

She also doesn't seem to be in a hurry to legislate them either.

aka Nancy Pelosi is a good financial advisor to Paul Pelosi

Boy this contract for Boeing looks like it's gonna go through. Better invest!

Uh oh looks like Lockheed isn't getting any this year. Better divest!


This has been debunked over and over starting in 2012. Nanci Pelosi is not part of a crime family. Stop trying to claim otherwise. Snopes debunked this okay like 2 years ago.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nancy-pelosi-crime-family/


I'm pretty sure your comment is tongue in cheek but wow this is a pretty bad look for snopes:

>Was Nancy Pelosi’s brother, Franklin D. Roosevelt D’Alesandro, charged with lying during a rape trial? Status: MIXTURE The Facts: Nancy Pelosi’s brother, Franklin D. Roosevelt D’Alesandro, was charged with perjury during a rape trial in the 1950s. However, he was eventually acquitted of those charges

How is that a mixture? The poster claims he has been charged, not convicted, Snopes confirms he was charged but... Ends up labelling this as mixed? That's pure damage control from Snopes at this point


Ah yes, the fact checkers have spoken.

Thank you fact checkers. Imagine how society would be without them? We’d be drowning in wrong-think.

This is not a credible response.

She does as well as Rentech’s Medallion fund. Looks like Warren Buffett has a competitor.

Reminds me of Hillary Clinton’s remarkable skill trading cattle futures. I suppose great politicians must also be great at reading the market. Incredible talent.


Warren Buffet has not had much luck since the Goldman Sachs investment in 2008. If anything, he's had a few investments flop (IBM, Kraft Heinz) and missed out on a ton of growth from not being in tech. I assume BRK is keeping up with the market due to its significant AAPL holdings.

So much for value investing, eh? Looks like tech stocks are where it's at.

Tech stocks delivering stellar profits and profit margins, increasing quarter after quarter for years, is value investing to me.

But not to the BRK boys, who underweight tech.

1) Nancy Pelosi is ethical and an upstanding citizen, a true hero-person among ordinary people. 2) There are no prospective conflicts of interest in having your significant other trade on your behalf. If there were any such conflicts, they're acceptable anyway. 3) There's nothing unusual around these trades. Many lawmakers underperform the market anyway. Also some people under-perform and over-perform. Nothing to see here nor question. 4) Legislating around the companies you buy and sell is an acceptable, both in governance structure and in economic opportunism 5) There is no way to mitigate these conflicts of interest anyway, so there is no point in paying attention to them.



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