We are learning more about questionable stock trades that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and her husband made shortly before coronavirus helped tank the stock market. The Wall Street Journal reports:
In the latest filing, Ms. Loeffler reported that she and her husband bought about $590,000 of stock and sold about $845,000 of stock from Feb. 18 through March 13. If they had held the shares they sold through Monday, the stock would have been valued at $86,000 less than what they sold it for, according to the Journal analysis.
The stocks they bought declined even more in value since they purchased them, giving the couple paper losses of $102,000 through Monday.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls some of the trades “politically problematic“:
“The newer stock sales came as the broader markets were diving, and they are likely to fuel allegations that Georgia’s new senator used her insider knowledge about the severity of the pandemic to dump holdings while simultaneously releasing statements about the strength of the American economy and complimenting President Donald Trump on his response. The STOCK Act, a law that went into effect in 2012, makes it illegal for senators to use inside information for financial gain.“
The WSJ says this information is already being used against Loeffler as she seeks re-election to the Senate this year.
Ms. Loeffler is battling to hold on to her Senate seat. A GOP rival, Rep. Doug Collins, a four-term congressman, began hammering her over her stock trades in TV appearances and on social media after they were disclosed.
“People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their retirements, and even their lives and Kelly Loeffler is profiting off their pain?” Mr. Collins tweeted March 20. “I’m sickened just thinking about it.”
Earlier this week CNN also reported that “The Justice Department has started to probe a series of stock transactions made by lawmakers.” There have also been calls for Congress to open an investigation.
The AJC reached out to Loeffler for comment and reports:
Loeffler and her staff have said she did nothing wrong. Her active portfolio reflects a woman of immense wealth who is confident in the market but also committed to following the rules, a spokeswoman said.