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Sen. Loeffler’s Stock Liquidation ‘is essentially a guilty plea,’ says Opponent

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Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her CEO husband will liquidate their individual stock share positions, after more than a month of controversy over purchases and sales of millions of dollars of stocks during the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, but her Senate challenger’s campaign team says it’s nothing short of ‘a guilty plea.’

“She’s less credible than the Chinese government. Same advisors, different funds and no blind trust?  We’re not buying it,” said Dan McGlan, spokesman for Rep. Doug Collins

Loeffler issued her statement Wednesday in an opinion editorial submitted to the Wall Street Journal. Loeffler announced that she and her husband CEO Jeff Sprecher would be liquidating those stocks shortly after her interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo and a day after SaraACarter.com published a story regarding her failure to name the broker of her stock portfolio.

Loeffler, however, continued to defend her stock sales and said that “I have never used any confidential information I received while performing my Senate duties as a means of making a private profit.” She posted her opinion piece on Twitter with a statement saying “my husband and I are liquidating our holdings in managed accounts.”

“I’m not doing this because I have to. I’m doing it to move beyond the distraction and put the focus back on the essential work we must all do to defeat the coronavirus,” she added.

Her spokesperson told this reporter in a story published Tuesday that “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. For years, her stock portfolio has been managed independently by third-party advisors who plan the investment strategy and implement trades.”

However, Dan McLagan, spokesman for Rep. Doug Collins, who is challenging Loeffler for her Senate seat, said on Wednesday that her refusal to name her broker calls into question the stocks traded during the pandemic.

“This is essentially a guilty plea and Georgians who just saw their retirement plans crater while she profited are not going to agree to the plea deal,” said McLagan. “She’s less credible than the Chinese government. Same advisors, different funds and no blind trust?  We’re not buying it. “

Collins has not yet issued a direct statement on Loeffler’s decision to liquidate the stocks but had said earlier that he was “sickened” by the trades and purchases during a time when so many people had lost their jobs and lives.

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Minnesota farmer’s lawsuit prompts removal of race and sex-based grant program

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Five months after Minnesota farmer Lance Nistler filed a federal lawsuit with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), the state has removed race- and sex-based preferences from its Down Payment Assistance Grant Program. This significant policy change followed Nistler’s legal challenge, which highlighted the discriminatory nature of the program’s selection process.

Pacific Legal Foundation writes involvement in Nistler’s case drew attention and criticism from Minnesota progressives. Writing in the Minnesota Reformer, Sigrid Jewett accused PLF of using Nistler “as a pawn in a larger culture war game.” She questioned why a California-based legal firm with numerous Supreme Court victories would be interested in representing a small Minnesota farmer pro bono.

PLF opposes all race- and sex-based preferences in the law, and that’s the real reason the firm chose to represent Nistler. The foundation stands against discrimination in various domains, including government board selections, school admissions, government contracts, and grant distributions, such as in Nistler’s case.

Here are the facts: Minnesota’s Down Payment Assistance Grant Program offers up to $15,000 toward the purchase of farmland. Recipients are chosen through a lottery system. However, before the policy change, even if a recipient was among the first picked through the lottery—as Nistler was, being selected ninth—they could be bumped to the back of the line if they were not a racial minority, female, LGBTQIA+, or otherwise designated as an “emerging” farmer by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Despite being chosen ninth in the lottery, which awarded grants to 68 applicants, Nistler did not receive a grant. He was moved from ninth to 102nd on the waitlist because he is a white male.

Nistler grew up on his family farm, milking cows. “They would lose money every year,” he says of the family operation. After he left for school, his family sold the cows and switched to farming soybeans, oats, and wheat. Lance’s father and uncle now run the farm, but they’re getting older. Lance, who has a degree in electronic engineering and worked in HVAC, is interested in buying a 40-acre chunk of the family farm, becoming the fourth-generation farmer in his family.

The land isn’t just going to be given to Lance. This is a working farm, and the Nistlers aren’t a wealthy family that can transfer land from one generation to the next without consideration. “My dad and uncle, they don’t have 401(k)s or anything,” Lance says. “I mean, the land and the equipment, that’s their retirement. This stuff isn’t given away. I’m not just going to get it handed down to me and inherited. It has to be purchased, and it is not cheap.”

Despite being from a farming family, Lance considers himself a new farmer—he has never owned farmland before, and he has an electronics background. Buying these 40 acres would be a huge step for Lance, planting him firmly in the farming world, which is what Minnesota’s grant program aimed to do. The idea that he would have qualified as an emerging farmer if only his skin were a different color struck Lance as wrong.

“The country we live in, the idea is it’s equal opportunity for everyone,” he says. “And if that’s what it is, then well, why shouldn’t I have the same chances?”

When Lance filed his lawsuit in January, the complaint argued that the discriminatory process violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. The complaint stated:

“Nistler brings this lawsuit to vindicate his constitutional right to equal protection of the law. He brings it to give all Minnesotans a fair chance at a difference-making grant program. He brings it in the hope that he will be able to own that small farm in the near future. He brings it because he is not giving up on his dream.”

In May, after Lance called attention to the unconstitutional policy, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed legislation removing the race and sex prioritization from the program. Now, Minnesota will treat farmers equally—as the Constitution promises.

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