Dec 19, 2011 10:15 PM GMT
In May 2010, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi took to a podium in the Capitol to introduce a half-dozen economic experts she had convened for a meeting on how to jump-start the economy. The group had met for several hours with top Democratic leaders, and Pelosi invited them to speak publicly on their perspectives on economic growth.
What Pelosi did not mention is that one of the men in the group was her son's boss and a partner with her husband in more than a half-dozen investments, including one that generated more than $100,000 in income for the Speaker's family last year.
It was the fourth time since 2007 that Pelosi had invited San Francisco investment banker William Hambrecht to be part of an economic policy forum on the Hill and the third time she appeared at a podium with him to speak to reporters. At none of those events did the then-Speaker reveal her financial ties to Hambrecht, and House rules did not require her to do so.
At a time when the connection between a Member of Congress' personal finances and public role has been spotlighted by the proposed STOCK Act — which would prohibit lawmakers from trading on legislative knowledge — the case of Pelosi and her family's investment adviser is a reminder of how few rules exist to govern these relationships.
According to her personal financial disclosure form for 2010, Pelosi's husband, Paul, had holdings in more than a half-dozen companies tied to Hambrecht's investment banking firm WR Hambrecht + Co.
The best-known Hambrecht/Pelosi partnership is the struggling United Football League.
An October 2009 Washington Post story reported that Paul Pelosi had purchased a team in Hambrecht's nascent league for $12 million. The article was published four days before Hambrecht participated in another of Pelosi's economic forums. After that four-hour meeting, Pelosi introduced Hambrecht and several other "leading economists" at a news conference, saying, "They're going to tell you some of their forecasts that they told us about — some of the options that we may have in investments, in tax policy, in budgetary overview, on how we create jobs in the most fiscally sound way," according to a CQ transcript.