Pelosi Pushes Electric Vehicle Subsidies As Husband's Tesla Stock Soars

Paul Pelosi owns up to $1 million of Tesla call options

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) gives a speech as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) looks on / Getty Images
October 29, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) husband hit pay dirt on Monday as Tesla's valuation rose to $1 trillion.

The news comes as Pelosi spearheads legislation that doles out tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to the electric vehicle industry, including Tesla, with provisions to build charging stations for cars and incentivize electric car purchases through tax credits.

The financial dealings of Pelosi's husband, Paul, came under scrutiny earlier this year when he purchased as much as $1 million of Tesla call options, one of the largest transactions of Tesla shares disclosed by a member of Congress. At the time, Republicans charged that the House speaker was cashing in on her power.

Members of Congress and their spouses are legally allowed to buy and sell stock, as long as it is not based on insider information. Members are required to disclose their transactions to the House Committee on Ethics, as Pelosi did with the Tesla transaction on Jan. 21.

Pelosi is spearheading negotiations with the White House as Democrats look to pass Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan and a reconciliation bill that includes the electric car incentives. Tesla, a pioneer in the electric car industry, is poised to see a significant boost from the legislation, according to industry watchers.

Democrats are proposing nearly $120 billion to fund various clean energy projects, and another $34.5 billion dedicated to zero-emission vehicles. The reconciliation bill also proposes $42 billion in tax credits for purchases of electric vehicles, which Democrats hope will incentivize new car buyers to purchase electric vehicles instead of gas-powered cars. The bill offers up to $12,500 in credits for each car. It also calls for tens of billions of dollars in spending to build charging stations for electric cars across the country.

Tesla's dramatic rise is likely attributable to several factors beyond the Democrats' spending proposals. Tesla founder Elon Musk recently announced he is moving the company's headquarters from California to Texas, which has no state income tax. Tesla's cars have also gained in popularity without federal incentives.

And while Tesla and other clean energy companies stand to gain with environmentally friendly Democrats in power, the company opposes some aspects of the reconciliation proposal, such as an additional credit for the purchase of electric cars made in unionized factories. Musk has publicly opposed unionization efforts.

Pelosi's office did not respond to requests for comment.