Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s questionable stock transactions during the coronavirus pandemic continue to dominate media reports, but it’s her failure to name her broker that is driving the controversy and raising sharp criticism by the media and her opponents.
Moreover, her recent purchase and then quick sale of $46,027 worth of stock in the online travel company Booking Holdings shortly before President Donald Trump announced a travel ban to most European countries has raised even more speculation.
And recent internal polling suggests that her Senate seat appears to be in jeopardy. According to the Battleground Connect survey poll, conducted by her Republican opponent Rep.Doug Collins campaign, 36 percent of likely voters in the state of Georgia support Collins, while only 13 percent support Loeffler.
Even more significant, the poll shows Loeffler trailing behind her Democratic opponent, pastor Raphael Warnock of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. According to Collins’ internal poll, Warnock has 16 percent of voters’ support.
Collins, who’s represented the 9th district since 2013, has been vocal about Loeffler’s numerous stock transactions calling them ‘questionable’ and ‘sickening.’ Questions began surfacing in February. It was then that Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, an executive at the firm which owns the New York Stock Exchange, sold stocks that were directly affected by the pandemic. During February and March they sold roughly $18.7 million stocks and then purchased stocks that would presumably do better during the coronavirus outbreak. These purchases raised speculation by critics of insider trading, which are allegations the couple has denied repeatedly.
For example, they purchased stocks in DuPont, which manufactures COVID-19 protective garments. They also purchased stocks in Citrix, a telecom company that has profited amid an uptick in telecommuting, and congressional sources that spoke to SaraACarter.com say there needs to be an investigation into the these transactions.
The most recent transactions were shares purchased and sold several days after in Booking Holdings. The shares were purchased on March 6, according to Loeffler’s reports and then sold shortly after she traveled with President Trump to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Trump announced his travel ban on March 11, but Loeffler sold her stock in the travel company on March 10 and 11.
Loeffler, who was appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after the resignation of former Sen. Johnny Isakson last year over health concerns, has been adamant that she has done nothing wrong. An official with her campaign spoke to SaraACarter.com saying that she is only informed of stock transactions after they occur.
“Allegations of improper trading are based purely on cherry-picking dates and misrepresenting transactions contained in Senator Loeffler’s Periodic Transaction Reports (PTRs), rather than any actions that Sen. Loeffler took,” stated a spokesperson for Loeffler.
Loeffler’s spokesperson said “For years, her stock portfolio has been managed independently by third-party advisors who plan the investment strategy and implement trades.”
Dan McLagan, the spokesman for Collins’ campaign, told this reporter that her failure and avoidance in answering specific questions about who manages her portfolio raises significant questions.
“Loeffler apparently has a ‘peek-a-boo trust’ rather than a blind one,” said McLagan. “She’s more concerned about her personal profit than the little people she represents with their petty worries about illness, late mortgages and cratered retirement plans.”
But Loeffler’s spokesperson said she is only “notified of transactions after they occur.”
“She has not directed any trades, has not shared any non-pubic information gained in the course of her Senate duties with investment managers, and will continue to act with integrity and transparency,” the spokesperson said. “While some will continue to make baseless accusations devoid of facts, Sen. Loeffler will continue working to keep Americans safe and provide much-needed relief to Georgia families and businesses impacted by COVID-19.”
However, some congressional officials aren’t buying the explanations. One official said “she leads people to the assumption that they don’t have input in the day to day trading.”
“She has never claimed that she has a qualified blind trust,” they stated. “It’s not like she has one because she doesn’t have one. The person conducting the stock transactions could be any person in her family office.”
Although Loeffler sent a comment to this news site, she did not answer specific questions sent by this reporter to her email. Specifically:
- What type of third party broker does Sen. Loeffler have?
- Who is the broker? Is there a an advisor between the broker and Sen. Loeffler?
- Why not a ‘qualified blind trust?’
- Questions regarding her shares of Booking Holdings are now public – according to her report of shares sold and purchased- On March 6 purchased Booking Holding -she was with President Trump at the CDC when it purchased. Then days later March 10-11, Sen. Loeffler sold off $46,027 (this was just before President Trump restricted Travel from Europe to the United States? Can you explain why these shares were sold so soon after?
- What is a general comment you can provide to constituents about the situation that you are now in and what can be done to prevent this from happening again?
- Would you have done anything differently?
Loeffler is not the only member of Congress facing scrutiny, CNN reported last week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is coordinating a probe with the SEC into the allegations against Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
His lawyer told CNN that Burr “welcomes a thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate.”
Others who have come under criticism for stock sales are Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein, and Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican. CNN reported that neither Feinstein’s and Inhofe’s offices had been contacted by the FBI.
According to reports, Feinstein herself did not sell any stock. However, her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock of Allogene Therapeutics, a biotech company, in January and February, as reported.
Inhofe also sold five stocks, with an estimated worth between $180,000 and $400,000, in January. He sold $50,000-$100,000 in February. Both Feinstein and Inhofe say they have no input in their investment portfolios, according to those reports.
BREAKING: Trump ordered to pay over $350M, barred from operating his business in NY in civil fraud case ruling
Former President Donald Trump and his business empire faced a significant setback as a New York judge ruled against them in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The 92-page ruling, handed down by Judge Arthur Engoron, barred Trump from operating his business in New York for three years and imposed over $350 million in damages.
The case, which unfolded over months of trial proceedings, stemmed from allegations that Trump inflated his assets and engaged in fraudulent practices. Engoron’s ruling cited a litany of charges, including persistent fraud, falsifying records, issuing false financial statements, and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Moreover, the judge imposed restrictions on key figures within the Trump Organization, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, barring them from serving in certain corporate roles in New York for a specified period.
Engoron’s scathing assessment of Trump’s testimony during the trial further undermined the former president’s credibility. The judge criticized Trump for evasive responses and irrelevant digressions, highlighting the detrimental effect on his credibility.
In response to the ruling, Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, lambasted the court’s decision, alleging political bias and a disregard for established legal principles. Kise argued that the evidence presented during the trial failed to support the allegations of fraud and emphasized Trump’s substantial net worth.
Kise’s assertions were echoed by Alina Habba, another attorney representing Trump, who denounced the verdict as a “manifest injustice” resulting from a politically motivated witch hunt.
Throughout the proceedings, Trump consistently dismissed the trial as politically motivated, accusing both Engoron and James of partisan bias. His legal team also criticized the absence of a jury in the trial, questioning the fairness of the proceedings.
Attorney General Letitia James, who spearheaded the lawsuit against Trump and his organization, portrayed the ruling as a victory for accountability and transparency in business practices. The lawsuit alleged fraudulent conduct and sought substantial financial penalties, a portion of which would contribute to the state treasury.
The fallout from the case extends beyond Trump and his business interests, with implications for the broader business community and the rule of law. The contentious nature of the trial and its outcome underscored deep divisions and raised questions about the integrity of the legal system.
Trump vows to appeal the decision.
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