Silicon Valley Lawmakers Weigh in on GameStop Controversy

Wall Street became the biggest news of the week thanks to an army of online edgelords besting some of the financial market’s biggest players at their own game.

To vastly simplify what happened: a bunch of Redditors managed to meme a fortune into existence by rallying behind a past-its-prime videogame company that hedge funds were betting would fail. The trolls-against-the-machine brought Melvin Capital to its knees, forcing it into a multibillion-dollar bailout, and ignited intense debate about an apparent double standard over market manipulation and regulatory oversight.

Now, local lawmakers are weighing in.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) today joined a bipartisan call for a probe into Robinhood and TD Ameritrade apps after they banned small investors from buying shares of small companies in hopes of curbing the frenzy.

On Twitter today, AOC—a member of the stock market-regulating House Financial Services Committee—called Robinhood’s decision to block stock buys “unacceptable,” saying she’d “support a hearing, if necessary.” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, retweeted her remarks, saying, “Fully agree.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) echoed the demands for an investigation.

“It’s long past time for the SEC and other financial regulators to wake up and do their jobs,” she wrote in a prepared statement. “And with a new administration and Democrats running Congress, I intend to make sure they do.”

Added Khanna: “We’re done letting hedge fund billionaires treat the stock market like their personal playground, then taking their ball home as soon as they lose.”

Whether Congress moves forward with an inquiry into the GameStop situation remains to be seen. When asked about the GameStop shorts at a press conference today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) merely replied, “Interesting, isn’t it?”

There’s plenty of illuminating explainers about the mechanics of what’s become known as Gamestonk, but perhaps none as entertaining as The Daily Show’s, which features host Trevor Noah’s face superimposed over a bubble bath-luxuriating Margot Robbie from 2015’s financial-crash period piece The Big Short.

“Basically, there’s a group of people on Reddit who don’t use the stock market to invest, they use it to gamble,” Noah-as-soaped-up-Robbie begins in the viral clip. “And, yeah, that’s what a lot of serious investors do too, but these guys on Reddit are more honest about it and they love to troll the people who aren’t.”

Though pundits balked at the GameStop surge, experts generally agree this was no pump-and-dump scheme, which involves people colluding behind the scenes to hype up and artificially inflate its share price before selling at a profit. Rather, the whole plot unfolded in the open, on r/WallStreetBets , a corner of Reddit that shot up in popularity amid a pandemic-inspired trend in day trading.

There doesn’t seem to be any law preventing a group of investors from organizing the way they did around GameStop, even if it was to stick it to the powers-that-be responsible for the 2008 financial collapse. Or, even if it was for the LULZ.

Khanna called the fiasco a symptom of broader societal problems—and proof of the stock market’s disconnect from most reality for most people.

“American inequality is at new levels of extreme,” he wrote this morning in a lengthy statement to reporters. “The top .01 percent of Americans hold nearly the same share of American wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Nearly half of American families aren’t even invested in the stock market. However, this entire episode has demonstrated the power of technology to democratize access to American financial institutions, ultimately giving far more people a say in our economic structures.”

That apps like Robinhood prevented amateurs from trading while hedge funds continued apace, he added, highlights the need for more regulation and equality in the market.

“Instead of investing in future technologies to help America win the 21st Century, Wall Street poured billions into shorting this stock to crush this company and put workers out of business,” Khanna said. “The future of this country lies in that access and equality across every sector of our economy.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. folks you are about to see a magic trick

    wall street and hedge funds own Biden & Co.

    pacing and leading – phase 1

    this is why they say the Dem party is where progressive ideas go to die

    San Jose is like a university seminar in everything wrong with democracy and public school

  2. It’s no surprise he’d do the wrong thing, including what else, seek new taxes.

    Why is he defending little activist dirtbags engaging in market manipulation?

    And ignoring the bubbles in stocks with these “new” things similar to day trading during the original Dot-Com era and mutual funds decades older when it comes to “democratizing” investing? Is it that it’s on today’s mobile apps, instead?

    (His behavior befits typical “progressives,” that’s why.)

    Meanwhile, there should be brakes on upturns just as much as on downturns.

  3. Hillary Clinton isn’t the only liberal and Democrat graduating to benefit from Wall Street’s friendship as well as sharing elitist tendencies among many there.

  4. Wall Street is happy with an establishment full of amenable politicians.

    Then there’s the on-going known insider fun and “consulting” with Blinken.

    (Flournoy somehow wasn’t Chosen and there’s not a lot of reporting why.)

    Think of all the federal spending planned as well as any money supply boosts.

    Big Tech wants a lot of fun in (and money from) Washington, too.


    phase 2 – once you’re in front of the story, run the story

    Subpoenas and Russia-Russia-Russia. First Putin destabilizes our “democracy” now they are destabilizing our “free market” he is killing everything sacred! Reddit and discord were private/down on reddit and discord for “hate speech”

    any of this sound familiar?

    You Dems and your high-tech/wall street overlords aren’t even hiding it anymore and they know you’re so dumb they aren’t spending cycles on imagination or novelty. You’ll just believe, like you always do.

    Who do you think makes “Dark Money” donations? Red-neck Trumpocrats from West Virginia? C’mon man.

    How can you vote in these people when they stole the primary from Bernie TWICE, stole it right out from underneath California’s nose? You have no integrity, you’re just partisan lemmings.

    In a week 17 Intelligence Agencies will conclude these wallstreetbets white males are domestic terrorists. And AOC and Ro will be at the press conference announcing the investigation.

    When will you wake up to the fact you are OWNED? Cog Dis is a difficult band gap to jump so maybe keep taking that blue pill and you won’t feel a thing.

  6. Oh my. Shut The Front Door, will ya please.

    There is someone who should be blocked from posting on here, its not kulack.
    It’s a whining, passive aggressive, stalking bully who is hurt by any opposing points of view that are not his own. Who’s only recourse now is to prevent anyone who he does not agree with from being able to post at all.

    Crazy Town. But i guess there were plenty of people who loved Vladimir Lenin, until he killed them because they were only useful idiots to him.

  7. It’s simple.

    “Successful behavior is repeated”

    Corollary. Unsuccessful behavior WON’T be repeated.

    Selling short one hundred and fifty percent of the stock float was an unsuccessful behavior. It won’t be repeated.

    The regulators arrived on the scene after all those who might possibly have benefited from regulatory protection had been wiped out.

    Regulation is no substitute for brains and common sense.

  8. Half of Americans aren’t invested in the stock market because it’s an unsafe gamble. Don’t believe the constant “get rich quick on the stock market” claims.

  9. > Freedom of speech and expression, is not absolute, and limitations to freedom of speech are when it becomes libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, dignity, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury.

    Oh, and you left out “hate speech”.

    Sounds like “freedom of speech and expression” is pretty much a myth in “progressive” America.

    The right to be forgotten?


    Where to I go so sue to recover the right to my “dignity” from the ignorant clods who defamed me to the world by proclaiming I was wrong for asserting that Dominion Voting systems could be hacked?

    I want my dignity back AND I want punitive damages so the ignorant clods learn their lessons.

  10. People? Top “progressives” politicians are behind San José Inside and San Jose Spotlight. Look at the financial contributions of San Jose Spotlight. The same people lobby San José Inside and San José Spotlight. Those the same contributors lobby those politicians. The Fly can be any one! The Watch Dog of Government DOES NOT exist anymore. Try harder, you will see who I am taking about. My understanding is that San José Spotlight is “non-profit” and San José Inside for profit. Khanna is a financial “contributor” for San Jose Spotlight. In return he gets PR benefits. The information is there. It just takes lots of time to do the research which the media is not doing because it is not convenient!

  11. At least the opinion or political remarks (in this case by Khanna) were confined to the news article about him, and quoting him could permit anything he says to be published. A lot of “reporting” by so many news sources and “journalists” is full of opinion, editorializing, and left-wing politics. These sister (or brother?) publications can report more than other sources on various subjects, too.

    (Example pair of articles here, with good imagery, too)

    (Examples about San Jose’s pension fund follies)


  12. Stock shorting and put options are as valid as buying on margin and call options.

    Any brakes on trading on the downside should be matched by upside brakes.

  13. Buying puts and calls are decent hedges, writing calls is a pretty good way to augment dividends. Force functioning a company out of business is part of it, but these dudes know how exposed they are, and took the risk.

  14. Steven, I have always been a Centric Democrat pro all the people and enemy of corrupted people and systems. If the “journalists” do not provide evidence on what they “report,” why should I be required to do that? It is their full-time job not mine. As one of the readers pointed out, we not even know who owns San Jose Inside. Pay attention to the circunstancial evidence. San José Inside is hiring the tangible pieces!

  15. San José Inside, it does not take much education and training in Journalism to at least use different pictures for your differ “reporting.” The same patrol picture use for all police incidents, the same picture for COVID vaccine up date…HELLO!

  16. > I am not going to get involved with this . . .

    Of course you’re not.

    > “And if a Federal Court denies a citizen his day in court, the case was without merit. Correct?”

    > . . . . BUT most of the cases including Trump Judges DID state there was NO MERIT to these ALLEGATIONS, so in fact that state4ment still rings true.

    In other words, the perfect circular argument.

    “The federal court denied your case because we think it has no merit. And since you’re case was never heard in a federal court, that’s confirmation that it has no merit.”

    And, by the way, there are no other forums for deciding merit. Only the federal courts.

    Do you actually have a job? I’m wondering who would hire you, and for what?

  17. > You tried to make my CONSTRUCTIVE comments to be in some way “gender biased” which is absurd.

    > You then in effect insult three persons in your writings as well. WAY beyond the polices of this website.

    > Simply put it wouldn’t make ANY difference if say I was a woman, and the website was managed by men, and you know it.

    Sexist in denial.

  18. >> Simply put it wouldn’t make ANY difference if say I was a woman, and the website was managed by men, and you know it.

    > Sexist in denial.

    toxic masculinity on display.

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