A member of Congress recently disclosed stock purchases made by their spouse that, in the context of subsequent events, may raise questions about a potential conflict of interest.
According to an exclusive report from Breitbart, the husband of U.S. Rep. Elaine Lauria (D-VA) purchased stock in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla and EV battery manufacturer QuantumScape roughly one week before Biden proposed investing $174 billion in federal funds in the EV market — spending that would boost the value of those companies substantially.
Federal law requires the timely disclosure of stock transactions by members of Congress and their families, and specifically prohibits transactions based on private knowledge of impending government actions that a member of Congress may be privy to ahead of average American consumers.
To be sure, there is no indication — at least as of yet — that the stock purchases in question were unlawful, but the timing of them has raised scrutiny, at least among some conservative circles.
According to a Periodic Transaction Report filed by Rep. Lauria on April 13, the Democrat’s husband purchased stock valued between $1,001 and $15,000 in both Tesla, Inc. and QuantumScape Corp. on March 22.
Fast-forward little more than a week to March 31, and President Joe Biden unveiled his $2+ trillion “American Jobs Plan” for infrastructure spending, which included a proposed $174 billion for the EV industry, as Breitbart noted.
According to an NPR report, that proposal — if passed by Congress — would invest heavily in manufacturers of EVs and EV batteries, incentivize and subsidize consumer purchases of EVs, build half a million EV charging stations at the taxpayer expense’s, and replace the entirety of the federal government’s fleet of vehicles with EVs over the next several years.
Forbes reported that on the day Biden’s spending proposal was announced — little more than a week after Rep. Lauria’s husband reportedly purchased the stocks in question — Tesla shares increased by 5% on the NASDAQ.
Meanwhile, shares of QuantumScape rose 1.5% in value.
At least as of now, no evidence exists that Lauria’s husband was acting on insider info when he made the purchases just ahead of these price surges. What’s more, it seems Breitbart is the only outlet to have reported on it thus far.
Breitbart didn’t receive a response to a request for comment from the congresswoman’s office.
It seems any remaining questions will remain unanswered, at least for now.