Though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, apparently enjoys immunity, on Monday the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would pursue criminal charges for insider trading against former Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., according to The Epoch Times.
Charges allege that Buyer used his position in Congress to gain nonpublic access to information that allowed him to commit transactions resulting in financial gain. The transactions concern a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.
An excerpt from the SEC report reads: “After leaving Congress in 2011, Buyer formed a consulting firm, the Steve Buyer Group, which provided services to, among other clients, T-Mobile. In March 2018, Buyer attended a golf outing with a T-Mobile executive, from whom he learned about the company’s then-nonpublic plan to acquire Sprint.”
The report notes that Buyer reportedly began purchasing a total of $568,000 in Sprint stock the day after he became aware of the secret merger. His transactions yielded a profit exceeding $107,000.
The SEC report also notes that in 2019 “Buyer purchased more than $1 million of Navigant Consulting, Inc., securities ahead of the public announcement that it would be acquired by another one of Buyer’s consulting clients, Guidehouse LLP.”
Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the Division of Enforcement of the SEC, noted in the report:
“When insiders like Buyer—an attorney, a former prosecutor, and a retired Congressman—monetize their access to material, nonpublic information, as alleged in this case, they not only violate the federal securities laws but also undermine public trust and confidence in the fairness of our markets.
“We are committed to doing all we can to maintain and enhance public trust by leveling the playing field and holding Buyer accountable for illegally profiting from his access,” he added.
The Epoch Times notes that Buyer has not respond to a request for comment.
Buyer’s charges come amid a broader debate regarding whether members of Congress (and their spouses) should be able to interact with the stock market. Notably, some members on both sides of the aisle are calling for a trading ban.
In December 2021, a report in Insider noted insider trading was common among congressional members and alleged that 49 members of Congress had violated laws against insider trading.
Laws against insider trading were strengthened in 2012 via the STOCK Act — Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act — which placed limitations and new reporting guidelines on lawmakers, though not their spouses.
Recent controversial stock purchases by Paul Pelosi have renewed discussion on this issue.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently defended the right for spouses of congressional representatives to purchase stock without oversight or limitations.
In January 2022, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers desiring more accountability requested a vote on new legislation banning congressional representatives from insider trading. Nancy Pelosi kept the bill from advancing.
Notably, several influential Democrats and Republicans support Pelosi’s position.