Bloomberg News

Lawmakers Buy Shares in Companies Affected by Debate, CBS Says

November 13, 2011

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Members of Congress have bought stock in companies while laws that could affect those companies were being debated in the House or Senate, the CBS news program “60 Minutes” said on its website.

The program’s correspondent, Steve Kroft, at news conferences on Nov. 3 asked Representative Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Representative John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, about stock purchases, according to a report today in the San Francisco Chronicle, which is published in Pelosi’s district.

Boehner, the speaker of the House, said he didn’t make day- to-day decisions about stock purchases and hasn’t “for years.” Pelosi, former speaker of the House, said it was “a false premise” that she would act legislatively on the basis of an investment, according to videos posted on the Breitbart.tv website.

CBS said in a news release it would cite work by Peter Schweizer, who works for the Hoover Institution, a Stanford, California-based policy group that says it works to support the U.S constitution and private enterprise. Schweizer’s books include “Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy” and “Architects of Ruin,” according to Schweizer’s page on the Hoover Institution website.

“Architects” discusses “How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Global Economy,” according to online bookseller Barnes & Noble.

Schweizer has worked as a foreign-policy adviser to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, Foreign Policy Magazine reported in July.

Kroft asked Pelosi why she and her husband, Paul Pelosi, bought an initial public offering of stock in Visa Inc., the San Francisco-based credit card company, in March 2008, according to the Chronicle.

A bill to give merchants power to negotiate lower fees with credit-card companies wasn’t brought to a vote by Pelosi, who as speaker controlled the House agenda, the newspaper aid.

The bill at issue passed on the last day of the legislative session before Congress recessed for elections in 2008, and Pelosi brought a stronger version to a vote in the next session and President Barack Obama signed it into law, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in an interview today.

As House speaker in 2008, Pelosi gained passage of a consumer-reform bill aimed at the credit card industry, and it died in the Senate, Hammill said. The bill passed with Pelosi’s support in the next session and Obama signed it into law, Hammill said.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, didn’t immediately return a telephone call and e-mail.

--Editors: Ann Hughey, Christian Thompson.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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