Can’t beat the corruption? Trade on it.
That’s the premise of House Stock Watcher and Senate Stock Watcher, two public databases created by Tim Carambat in 2020. And the social media platform Iris. And various Reddit forums and Tik-Tok communities.
Carambat’s databases contain up-to-the-moment lawmaker financial transactions, compiled from required financial trading disclosures of members of Congress.
How many filings are part of the databases so far this year?  More than four thousand.
“I knocked out a very, very simple version of the project in like a couple of hours. And I posted it actually to Reddit, where it gained some significant traction and people showed a lot of interest in it,” Carambat said, as reported by NPR’s All Things Considered.
The program detailed young investors who swear by the investment strategies of the likes of Nancy Pelosi. Well, not the Madame Speaker herself, since, as she rightly notes, she owns no stocks. Her husband is the trader.
“She knew. And you would have known if you had followed her portfolio,” said Chris Josephs about trades in Pelosi’s disclosures.
Josephs is a co-founder of Iris, a business that displays other people’s stock transactions. He’s been taking advantage of the Stock Act, which compels legislators to report their stock transactions and those of their spouses within 45 days.
Josephs’ social investing platform can be configured to send out push notifications when required disclosures of lawmakers and others are made public.
The Trends Journal previously reported on Nancy Pelosi’s timely trading in “PELOSI’S PROFIT FROM PENTAGON SWITCH TO AMAZON,” 13 July 2021.
“I’m at the point where if you can’t beat them, join them,” Josephs said to NPR regarding the Pelosi info. “I typically do buy… the next one she does, I’m going to buy.”
If it all sounds a sad commentary on a political class that seems to enrich itself beyond what even generous salaries might predict, that’s not of much concern to many young investors.
“We don’t want this to… be a left vs right thing. We don’t really care. We just want to make money,” said Josephs.
But others note the corrosive reality that the use of lawmakers as trading oracles represents.
“If the situation is that the public has lost so much trust in government that they think … the stock trades of members are based on corruption, and that [following that] corruption could benefit [them]. … We have a significant problem,” noted Kedric Payne, senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center.
Observers noticed that lawmakers appeared to be acting on insider knowledge when many sold off a plethora of stocks in February 2020, as the COVID-19 crisis was first unfolding, and before the markets took a major hit.
Despite accusations and a federal investigation against Congressional heavyweights such as Sens. Dianne Feinstein and James Inhofe, no charges were filed or actions taken.

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