Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler has vehemently defended herself against allegations of corruption after it was revealed she sold off $3.1 million in stocks in the days after she attended a coronavirus briefing for senators on January 24.
In an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight Friday, Loeffler, who is the junior senator from Georgia, claimed her financial advisors handle her stock transactions, and tend to her vast fortune.
Loeffler told Carlson that she did not know about the sales of her stocks until February 16, and thought little of it.
‘I don’t get involved there, I don’t have a say, I don’t want to have a say,’ Loeffler stated.
The 49-year-old is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, and the pair have an estimated net worth of $500 million.
Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler defended herself on Tucker Carlson Tonight after it was revealed she sold off $3.1 million in stocks in the days after she attended a coronavirus briefing for senators on January 24
She also claimed she had familiarized herself with The Stock Act before she took her senate seat, and has always acted within the law. The Stock Act stops lawmakers from using non-public information for stock trades.
Meanwhile, Loeffler also asserted that the economic fall-out from the coronavirus crisis has been fast-moving, and contended that coronavirus wasn’t at the top of her mind when her stocks were sold off between January 24 and mid-February.
‘It comes down to the timeline, this is a fast-moving situation… None of us believe today what we believed today on February 1st. February 1st we were locked down in impeachment, we were heading into the State of the Union, we were having the Prayer Breakfast, there was a million things going on,’ Loeffler told Carlson.
She continued: ‘Nothing was locked down, other than President Trump rightly said we need to seal off flights from Wuhan, China’.
Carlson disputed the claim, saying he had checked his date book and had met with a Washington official on February 3, where they discussed the seriousness of the coronavirus.
‘I mean it was out there,’ Carlson claimed, appearing incredulous.
‘It doesn’t help help anybody to point fingers retroactively, but people want to think that their leaders are putting the people’s interest before theirs, and I wonder if thats always happening,’ he pondered.
Loeffler also stopped short of criticizing three of other senators who also sold off stocks following the private coronavirus meeting.
‘I’ve been in the senate for 11 weeks, I didn’t advise my colleagues on how they manage their financial situation,’ she stated.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, knew of the coming coronavirus crisis three weeks ago and divulged details of the chaos that would ensue to a group of well-heeled constituents
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold up to $1.7 million worth of stock on February 13 in 33 separate transactions after offering public assurances the government was ready to battle the virus. His financial filings were first reported by ProPublica.
Burr has agreed to be questioned by the Senate Ethics Committee.
Republican Senator James Inhofe and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein also sold stock, according to filings, but both said they were not involved in the transactions.
Inhofe said he has divested most of his stock and is not involved in investment decisions. Feinstein’s money is in a blind trust.
Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led the calls for the resignations of both Koeffler and Burr shortly after the news broke on Thursday
Critics on both ends of the political spectrum called on Burr and Loeffler to consider resigning or at least explain the sales.
‘Senator Burr owes North Carolinians an explanation,’ fellow North Carolinian and Republican Senator Thom Tillis wrote on Twitter. ‘His self-referral to the Ethics Committee for their review is appropriate, there needs to be a professional and bipartisan inquiry into this matter.’
Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, ‘It is stomach-churning that the first thoughts these Senators had to a dire & classified #COVID briefing was how to profit off this crisis.’ Ocasio-Cortez is a prominent member of the party’s progressive wing.
Activist groups demanded federal officials and securities regulators investigate all four senators.
The controversy swirled as negotiations continued on a rescue plan for the reeling economy, after Republicans made a $1 trillion opening bid that included payments of up to $1,200 for many Americans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wanted a deal by the end of Friday. That would allow for Senate passage on Monday, sending the bill to the House of Representatives and clearing the way for Trump to sign it into law early next week.
However, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday evening that the talks could spill into Saturday. The Democratic House leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was involved in the talks on behalf of the House.
Aid to small businesses hard-hit because customers are staying at home appeared to have the broadest level of agreement, according to Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
But serious disagreements weighed on the talks over issues including Democrats’ demand for a major expansion of the unemployment insurance system and state governors’ call for a $150 billion fund to help them respond to the virus.