House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband placed a bet of up to $1 million on the future of Tesla Inc. under the Biden administration, which is expected to provide incentives to purchase more environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.
Pelosi, as speaker of the House, likely has insights into Biden’s plans for the industry, which are expected to include tax credits and other incentives to promote the shift away from traditional automobiles.
"The disclosure forms clearly indicate these investments were made by Mr. Paul Pelosi not the Speaker," a spokesman for Speaker Pelosi's office told FOX Business in a statement. The letters "SP" listed under owner indicate the purchases were made by a spouse.
Paul Pelosi, who runs a real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm based in San Francisco, did not break any laws by making the purchases as these types of transactions occur frequently.
Spouses of members of Congress are allowed to own shares of companies in industries of which their significant others may help regulate, but under the STOCK Act they are not allowed to act on nonpublic information. The same goes for the Congress members themselves.
Paul Pelosi did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
“The problem is there are a lot of things that any congressperson could do behind the scenes to positively influence Tesla [shares], such as stalling legislation and putting forth legislation,” said Aaron Hill, professor of management at the University of Florida. “A lot of this is just documented in committee meetings, so it really raises the specter of double-dealing or certainly conflict of interest.”
Paul Pelosi bought 25 call options costing between $500,000 and $1 million, according to a financial disclosure dated Jan. 21 reviewed by FOX Business. The options, which were purchased on Dec. 22, give Paul Pelosi the right, but not the obligation, to purchase up to 2,500 Tesla shares at a price of $500 apiece before they expire on Mar. 18, 2022.
The transactions were the first in Telsa disclosed by Nancy Pelosi going back to at least 2013.
Tesla shares settled at $846.64 a piece on Friday, meaning they are above the strike price, or “in-the-money," and that Paul Pelosi can exercise them so long as they remain above $500.
In addition to purchasing Tesla options, Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, also disclosed Paul bought 100 Apple Inc. call options worth up to $500,000 and 100 Walt Disney Co. call options worth as much as $1 million. Pelsoi has previously disclosed activity in those companies. She also revealed a 20,000-share stake in the financial services firm AllianceBernstein Holding.
|DIS||THE WALT DISNEY CO.||169.61||-2.45||-1.42%|
Nancy Pelosi isn’t the only member of Congress to come under scrutiny for their financial transactions.
Federal prosecutors last year opened investigations into four Senators who themselves or their spouses sold investments right before the S&P 500 crashed 34% in February and March in anticipation of the economic damage that would be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Justice has since dropped the investigation into the transactions made by Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga or their significant others.
“As a nation we should really be concerned with this. There's enough political vitriol out there and this is just one more thing to potentially divide our country,” Hill said. “This is easily eliminable.”