DOJ and SEC Launch Probe into Senators’ Coronavirus Stock Trades Following Loeffler’s Stock Dumping Scandal
Loeffler and her husband’s stock sell-off scandal gets worse as DOJ and SEC launch probe while Loeffler refuses to join Burr and call for Senate Ethics investigation
ATLANTA — Last night, a bombshell new report revealed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have launched a probe into Senators’ stock transactions during the coronavirus outbreak as news continues to break surrounding unelected “political mega-donor” Senator Kelly Loeffler’s stock sell-off scandal.
This latest news follows the SEC’s “sharp warning” last week against using “nonpublic information” to trade on the coronavirus outbreak — along with the SEC’s refusal to comment on whether Loeffler and her husband were under investigation. So far, Loeffler has still not followed Senator Richard Burr’s example and called for an investigation from the Senate Ethics Committee.
“Senator Kelly Loeffler’s stock sell-off scandal continues to generate more and more questions — while Senator Loeffler herself has yet to give any clear answers,” said Alex Floyd, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “This latest DOJ and SEC probe shows it’s past time for Senator Loeffler to be honest with Georgia voters and join her Senate colleague to call for an ethics investigation to answer any and all questions related to her stock transactions during the coronavirus outbreak.”
The Democratic Party of Georgia continues to break down the timeline in Loeffler’s stock sell-off scandal below — including this latest development surrounding a potential DOJ and SEC investigation of Loeffler:
January 24th: Loeffler’s Senate HELP Committee hosts a private all-Senate briefing on the coronavirus threat — and Loeffler begins selling off stocks the very same day.
February 26th: Loeffler’s husband and New York Stock Exchange Chairman Jeffrey Sprecher sells off $3.5 million worth of stock in their company ICE, just over 30 days after Loeffler’s private Senate briefing — the amount of notice ICE requires executives to give before buying or selling shares.
March 10th: Loeffler claims “the economy is strong” and “jobs are growing” even after she and her husband dumped millions worth of stocks.
March 11th: Loeffler and Sprecher sell off another $15.3 million worth of ICE shares — just one day after her claim that “the economy is strong.”
March 20th: As the Daily Beast breaks the news of Loeffler’s stock sell-off scandal, one Republican candidate openly calls for her resignation and calls her “unfit to represent Georgia” as Republican House Speaker David Ralston expresses worries about “down-ticket damage.”
March 21st: The day after a scathing New York Times editorial calling for the Senate to launch a full ethics investigation “and, if warranted…criminal prosecution” against Loeffler, the Savannah Morning News decries her “potential illicit profiteering” and says the “Justice Department and…Securities and Exchange Commission should get involved.”
March 23rd: The SEC issues “a sharp warning” against using “nonpublic information” to trade on the coronavirus outbreak while refusing to comment on whether Loeffler and Sprecher are under investigation — the same day that Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, which had previously spent to boost Loeffler, leaves Georgia off its list of ad buys.
March 27th: Even more members of Loeffler’s own party distance themselves from her, with one prominent conservative calling the accusations against her “very relevant.” Outside Republican groups that previously backed Loeffler, meanwhile, “are now turning their attention elsewhere at a pivotal moment in her campaign.”
March 29th: A new report reveals the DOJ and the SEC have launched a probe into Senators’ stock transactions during the coronavirus outbreak, coming nearly a week after the SEC issued a warning against insider trading during the pandemic and refused to state whether Loeffler and her husband were under investigation.
Loeffler’s scandal has garnered bipartisan outrage along with scathing criticism from national and local editorial boards like the Savannah Morning News, which has already said “the Justice Department and…Securities and Exchange Commission should get involved.” One Republican candidate has already called for Loeffler’s resignation as a result of her stock dumping scandal.
Read the latest coverage about Loeffler’s stock sell-off scandal:
CNN: Exclusive: Justice Department reviews stock trades by lawmakers after coronavirus briefings
The Justice Department has started to probe a series of stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of the sharp market downturn stemming from the spread of coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The inquiry, which is still in its early stages and being done in coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission, has so far included outreach from the FBI to at least one lawmaker, Sen. Richard Burr, seeking information about the trades, according to one of the sources.
Public scrutiny of the lawmakers’ market activity has centered on whether members of Congress sought to profit from the information they obtained in non-public briefings about the virus epidemic.
GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and her husband sold 27 stocks valued between $1.275 million and $3.1 million from January 24 through February 14, according to Senate records.
They also purchased three stocks at a value of $450,000-$1 million, including shares in Citrix, a software company that’s gained approximately 15% in value since Loeffler and her husband bought the stock last month.
Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat in December and was sworn in in early January, has denied having any knowledge of the stock sales, saying she uses a third-party financial adviser and did not learn of the trades until later. Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.