Traders have invested $55 million using an app that helps them copy congressional stock portfolios

Nancy Pelosi and Dan Crenshaw look in opposite directions.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Despite wide public support against the practice, members of Congress invest in the stock market.

  • People have invested at least $55 million in two years mimicking members of Congress’ portfolios.

  • Pelosi’s reported trades increased 45% in value in 2023. Crenshaw’s increased in value by 41%.

An app allowing its users to trade like members of Congress and leading investors just broke $100 million in total investments. Despite its success, the app’s cofounders adamantly say they hope it leads Congress to ban themselves from trading.

Released in January 2023, Autopilot pulls trading data filed by members of Congress and allows users to copy their trades. Since the passage of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act in 2012, members of Congress are required to report each of their and their immediate family’s investments within 45 days or face financial penalties.

The app also allows its users to mimic investments made by prominent hedge fund managers like Michael Burry, the subject of the 2015 movie “The Big Short,” via their federally required 13F filings.

Chris Josephs, a cofounder of the platform who runs the popular “Nancy Pelosi Stock Tracker” on X, told Business Insider the app breezed past the $100 million trading milestone on Monday, with more than $55 million copied from trades that copied congressionally filed ones.

The app doesn’t allow its users to mimic every member of Congress. Instead, it provides four legislators to copy — Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Rep. Dan Goldman, plus an amalgam of stocks from “the top 10 politician traders based on their 2022 performance.”

Josephs said the portfolios of Crenshaw and Pelosi, which the congresswoman has said are made by her husband, Paul Pelosi, are the two most popular to mirror.

Statistics within the app show that Pelosi’s reported trades increased 45% in value in 2023. Crenshaw’s increased in value by 41%.

Asked for comment on the matter, Corry Schiermeyer, spokesperson for Crenshaw’s office, told Business Insider their boss is “not a millionaire and barely has anything invested in the market.”

Representatives from Pelosi’s office declined Business Insider’s request for comment.

The fight against congressional stock trading

large bronze statue of bull in running stance in a brick plaza

The Charging Bull, or Wall Street Bull, is an icon of the stock market in Manhattan.Carlo Allegri/Reuters

At the end of 2021, Pelosi — then-speaker of the House — said that she was against banning members of Congress and their families from trading stocks, leading to massive public outcry and her to flip her position on the matter.

Several members of Congress — both Republicans and Democrats — tried to ban the practice in 2022 to no avail. Next congressional session, in 2023, a group of Democratic senators introduced a similar bill, though it remains stuck in committee.

“That’s why we’re doing this,” Josephs, the Autopilot spokesperson, said. “Honestly, it’s partly to continue holding their feet to the fire. We’re not going away.”

Donald Sherman, deputy director for the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said he thinks the app is a “clever idea.” He’s not surprised to hear that many legislators have trading portfolios that are more successful than the average investor’s.

“If I take the most generous perspective, their entire job lends itself to the kind of careful study of market trends, economic factors, and experience with what moves the market that I think most traders need and would envy,” he said.

As Autopilot’s Josephs has put it: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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