Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) benefited from stock trades worth millions of dollars shortly before the general public was alerted to the severity of the Covid-19 crisis, selling off shares in industries that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and buying shares of companies that have benefited, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) report published late Tuesday.
Loeffler, who sits on the Senate Health Committee, first began selling stocks on January 24 — the same day that committee held a private all-members session on Covid-19 — and continued making trades in late February and early March.
According to her latest financial disclosure, which the senator provided to the AJC, her largest transaction involved the sale of $18.7 million in Intercontinental Exchange stock in three separate deals dated February 26 and March 11. Intercontinental Exchange operates global exchanges for several financial and commodity markets — and since Loeffler made her first sale, its stock has fallen by 16 percent.
“Senator Loeffler filed another Periodic Transaction Report (PTR) and the facts are still the same,” a spokesperson for the senator told Vox in a statement. “These transactions are consistent with historical portfolio activity and include a balanced mix of buys and sells. Her stock portfolio is managed independently by third-party advisors and she is notified, as indicated on the report, after transactions occur.”
When challenged over the trades following prior reporting by the Daily Beast, Loeffler said the transactions were handled by third-party advisers, given that she is an elected official and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is chair of the New York Stock Exchange and chair and CEO of its holding company, Intercontinental Exchange.
Additionally, a spokesperson for the senator told the AJC that the sell-offs were pre-planned as part of Sprecher’s compensation package and were made in order to pay taxes, cover transaction costs, and produce “liquidity.”
Raising questions, however, is the fact that beyond Intercontinental Exchange, the couple also sold stock from other companies ultimately affected by the coronavirus, including a combined $155,000 or so from retailers Ross Stores, TJX Cos. (the parent corporation for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls), and upscale athletic-apparel company Lululemon over the same period of time.
And as Loeffler and Sprecher made those sales, a number of stocks added to their portfolio have seen gains as the Covid-19 crisis deepens. For instance, the couple obtained $206,777 in shares of chemical giant Dupont, which produces critical protective gear to combat transmission of the virus, in four separate transactions in late February and early March. They also acquired shares in telecommuting company Citrix on January 24 — again, the same day the Senate Health Committee held a private meeting about the coronavirus.
Four days after the briefing (and her acquisition of Citrix stocks), Loeffler accused Democrats of misleading the American public about the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak for political gain.
But wait, there’s more:
Senator Kelly Loeffler sold a total of $46,027 worth of stock in an online travel company in the day leading up to President Donald Trump’s announcement of a ban on most European travel to the U.S.Though the transactions were relatively small for Loeffler and her husband — whose net worth is estimated at more than $500 million — the sales represented an about-face.
Loeffler, a Georgia Republican, had just days earlier purchased the shares, in Booking Holdings, jointly with her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, the chief executive officer of Intercontinental Exchange, parent firm of the New York Stock ExchangeBooking Holdings provides online bookings for flights, hotels and other travel-related services, all of which have collapsed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.The stock was purchased on March 6, the day that Loeffler traveled with Trump, visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta for an update on the coronavirus response, and continuing on a later flight to Florida.It was sold on March 10 and 11. After the markets closed on March 11, the president announced his European travel restrictions.
This is so bad that even Tucker Carlson thinks she might have to resign in disgrace:
At the end of his Thursday night program, Carlson noted that he had Loeffler on to defend herself right after the Beast’s story came out, adding that she denied any wrongdoing and insisted that all the trades were made by her advisers without her prior knowledge.
“Now new congressional disclosures show that she sold far more stock than we initially knew,” the Fox host said. “Between February 26 and March 11, Loeffler and her husband dumped almost $19 million of stock in Intercontinental Exchange, the company her husband runs.”
Pointing out that during that same period the couple sold roughly $1 million in shares of several retailers, Carlson added that they then went and bought stock in DuPont, a company that makes antiviral protective gear.
“So did she know any of this was happening?” Carlson asked. “We don’t know the answer to that. We do know that on March 10, after almost all these trades were done, she went on Twitter to assure constituents that everything was fine.”
“So again, we don’t know the truth,” the Fox News host continued. “But if she knew about these trades and still issued that little PSA we showed you, she should leave office. She claims she only learned about the trades after they happen. She denies insider trading, and good. Then she should welcome a federal investigation into all of this.”
We need to replace this corrupt insider trader with a Reverend for the people. By the way, Rev. Raphael Warnock (D. GA) picked up a big endorsement this week:
The Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, has nabbed the support of U.S. Rep. John Lewis for his run for U.S. Senate. Lewis is the latest establishment Democratic figure to back Warnock’s campaign against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler.