Newsweek: How The Pelosi IPO Deal Went Down

Be sure to read the great follow-up reporting from Newsweek on how Congresswoman Pelosi and her husband got those IPO shares.  It was all part of an effort by Newsweek to court Pelosi.  Clearly this was all about who she was as a politician.  They got special treatment.  This is wrong.

The story is here.   A teaser:

“The effort began in earnest in late 2007. Ogilvy, one of Visa’s outside lobbying firms, picked off one of Pelosi’s government-affairs advisers, Dean Aguillen, who had close ties in the speaker’s office. Aguillen quit the speaker’s team and went to Ogilvy in December 2007. By law he was unable to lobby his former boss for a year, but he immediately registered to lobby Congress on the credit-card issue, offering guidance to other lobbyists on Visa’s team during strategy sessions, according to a lobbyist present in strategy deliberations.

Separately, Pelosi’s husband, Paul, a major investor in California, got a lucrative phone call—a pre-screen invite in March 2008 to take part in Visa’s $17.9 billion public stock offering, at the time one of the hottest stock offerings in an otherwise soft market. The initial-public-offering price was $44 per share and was limited to institutional investors and a group of specially selected individuals. Almost $18 billion was made available in public stock to preselected investors. Paul Pelosi made the cut.

Paul Pelosi initially bought 5,000 shares at the $44 initial price. Within a couple of days, the shares’ value soared to $64. Paul Pelosi purchased 15,000 more shares over the next three months, at much higher prices. The total quantity was valued as high as $5 million, according to the then-speaker’s financial-disclosure form. In late 2008, when the stock market soured, Pelosi sold 1,000 of the first IPO shares for a meager profit of $2,500 to $5,000, records show. He has kept the other 19,000 shares, which now are valued at $95 each.”

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