Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., sold as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the market dropped in February amid fears about the coronavirus epidemic.
But Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler also bought and sold stocks during the same time they were receiving briefings on the coronavirus outbreak, leading to questions about whether they used inside information to guide their financial dealings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Senate records show that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February. That was just before the market began to fall and as government health officials began to issue stark warnings about the effects of the virus.
Perdue in nearly 100 transactions bought and sold in equal amounts, although exact figures cannot be determined because senators are only required to report transactions within ranges. Loeffler unloaded stocks at a much more rapid pace than she made purchases, taking money out of the market.
Loeffler, in tweets posted shortly after midnight, dismissed the criticism.
“This is a ridiculous and baseless attack,” she wrote. “I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband's knowledge or involvement.”
Loeffler said she wasn’t aware of transactions made in late January until Feb. 16, three weeks after they occurred.
A spokeswoman for Perdue said that his financial disclosures show he did nothing wrong.
“Senator Perdue goes above and beyond to comply with current law and meet all Senate ethics requirements, he is not involved in any day-to-day investment decisions and uses an outside financial advisor to manage all assets and publicly report every transaction in a timely manner,” Cherie Gillan said.
Perdue’s sales fall anywhere between $148,050 to $995,000 and his purchases are in the range of $141,043 to $890,000. Among his new investments are stocks in Disney and Delta Airlines, companies that haven’t fared well during the outbreak.
A spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia said both members should answer to their constituents.
“Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler must explain to Georgians why they made massive stock sell-offs right after receiving a private briefing, all the while downplaying the threat to Georgia families and then playing politics with a vote on the relief package to help those impacted by the outbreak,” DPG spokesman Alex Floyd said. “Georgians deserve senators who will put their health and safety first, not self-serving politicians using their positions to profit off a crisis.”
Two of Perdue’s opponents are already bashing him on this. First, Teresa Tomlinson (D. GA):
Ã¢ÂÂ Teresa Tomlinson (@teresatomlinson) March 20, 2020
Last night we learned that both of Georgia’s Republican senators sold substantial investment holdings after a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting on January 24, when CDC officials briefed all senators on the dire threat of a global coronavirus pandemic.
David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler knew about the devastating impact of coronavirus, and protected their investments, but they didn’t warn you or the rest of America about the worst global pandemic in one hundred years. One that could take millions of lives from the most vulnerable people in our society.
David Perdue is no “outsider” — he’s an inside trader. Every senator caught up in this corrupt scheme is a disgrace and unfit to serve. I’m not waiting on Perdue to do the right thing and resign — rush a contribution to my campaign to help me beat him in November.
Second, Jon Ossoff (D. GA):
My opponent Sen. Perdue was briefed on the severe threat of COVID-19.
Instead of warning us, he downplayed the threat, sold casino stock, & bought up to $260,000 in pharma stock.
If this isnÃ¢ÂÂt a crime, it should be. Donate to kick him out of the Senate: https://t.co/GwoLTQ1CQr
Ã¢ÂÂ Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) March 20, 2020
I just got some shocking news:
David Perdue “among Senators whose stock trading during Coronavirus raises questions”
– Atlanta Journal Constitution
Like all Senators, my opponent Senator David Perdue got a classified briefing on the grave threat posed by Coronavirus.
But instead of warning the public or pressuring Trump to speed up his response, he bought and sold up to $425,000 in casino and pharmaceutical stocks to PROFIT off the crisis!
I’ve made my career fighting and exposing exactly this kind of corrupt self-dealing.
Perdue betrayed his oath to Georgians by profiteering on an impending pandemic while downplaying the threat in public. If that’s not a crime, it should be.
HELP ME BEAT HIM. Donate to my campaign for U.S. Senate right away.
David Perdue has always been the caricature of Washington corruption. But this is even worse than I could’ve imagined.
Right now, millions of Americans are being forced to stay home and miss work. Medical teams are preparing for a wave of viral pneumonia patients. David Perdue tried to line his own pockets.
He sold his stock in casinos — right before the tourism industry plummeted.
And he bought up stock in a mega pharmaceutical company right as Congress prepared to pass billions for emergency drug research!
We have to beat him.
But I can’t do it without you. Chip in $5 or more to my campaign right away and help defeat CORRUPT Senator David Perdue:
Thank you for acting quickly
No e-mail from Sarah Riggs Amico (D. GA) but she just Tweeted this:
Ã¢ÂÂ Sarah Riggs Amico (@SarahRiggsAmico) March 20, 2020
And Matt Lieberman (D. GA), one of Loeffler’s opponents, has been bashing her on this as well:
RELEASE: “The fact is that Georgia deserves a US Senator who will put the health and well-being of our country first. Sadly, these events have proven that Senator Loeffler puts profits over people.” pic.twitter.com/8SwgjVshRK
Ã¢ÂÂ Matt Lieberman (@LiebermanForGa) March 20, 2020
BREAKING NEWS: Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler dumped millions in stocks after Republicans held a private coronavirus briefing, then invested in work-from-home-related companies.
Loeffler and her husband – the chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange – “began selling off more than a million dollars in stocks on the same day as the closed-door Senate meeting on Friday, Jan 24.” They also purchased stock in two work-from-home-related companies, in an apparent attempt to profit off of a national crisis.
After dumping her holdings, Loeffler bashed Democrats and intentionally downplayed the health and financial threats posed by the pandemic, tweeting in February that “Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness. Here’s the truth: @realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe.”
Kelly Loeffler put her own profits ahead of the health and safety of her constituents. We need to mobilize NOW to flip this seat blue and defeat Kelly Loeffler.
Will you chip in $10, $50, $100, or whatever you can to help us raise $10,000 by midnight tonight to stand up to Loeffler and elect Democrat Matt Lieberman – a leader with integrity and moral courage – to the U.S. Senate?
It’s more important than ever that we work together to defeat Loeffler in November and elect Matt Lieberman.
Counting on you,
No e-mail from Rev. Raphael Warnock’s (D. GA) campaign but he Tweeted this morning:
As the coronavirus pandemic is busy taking lives and livelihoods, Kelly Loeffler has been busy looking out for herself.
Ã¢ÂÂ Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) March 20, 2020
Georgia is going to be a huge state election-wise this year and we need to get ready. Click below to donate and get involved with the Democrat of your choice.
G-Sen A (Perdue Re-Election)
GA-Sen B (Loeffler Special Election)