Senator Kelly Loeffler has turned over personal documents to federal law enforcement and financial authorities regarding the sales of millions of dollars of stock she and her husband off-loaded in the wake of a classified coronavirus briefing in January.
Loeffler and her husband, New York Stock Exchange CEO Jeff Sprecher, sold stocks valued up to $3.1 million in the weeks after the briefing, which had been invested in companies whose values later dipped significantly as markets plunged.
The couple also purchased between $450,000 and $1 million worth of shares in a popular teleconferencing company whose stock has soared since businesses have moved to working-from-home models nationwide amid lockdown orders.
Having long refuted any claims of foul play, a spokesperson for Loeffler said Thursday night the Republican has ‘forwarded documents and information’ to the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Senate Ethics Committee ‘establishing that she and her husband acted entirely appropriately and observed both the letter and the spirit of the law.’
‘The documents and information demonstrated her and her husband’s lack of involvement in their managed accounts, as well the details of those accounts,’ the spokesperson continued. ‘Senator Loeffler has welcomed and responded to any questions from day one.’
Senator Kelly Loeffler has turned over personal stock documents to federal law enforcement and financial authorities regarding the sales of millions of dollars of stock she and her husband off-loaded in the wake of a classified coronavirus briefing in January
Loeffler’s office failed to specify whether the Georgian Senator had corresponded directly with law enforcement officials.
‘No search warrant has been served on Sen. Loeffler. She has followed both the letter and spirit of the law and will continue to do so,’ the spokesperson added.
The development comes as part of the FBI’s probe into insider trading allegations against a number of members of Congress who offloaded stocks in the weeks leading up to the coronavirus outbreak across the US, which saw markets plummet.
On Wednesday night, federal authorities raided Republican Senator Richard Burr’s Washington residence and seized his cell phone, allegedly to examine communications he shared with his broker.
Across 33 different transactions on February 13, the Intelligence Committee chair sold off between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings, according to ProPublica who first reported on the senator’s sell off in March.
Just 24 hours earlier, his committee had received a briefing on the virus. Much of the stock had been invested in businesses that were subsequently hit hard by the plunging market in the weeks that followed.
Before his sell-off, Burr had assured the public that the federal government was well-prepared to handle the virus.
Loeffler’s office failed to specify whether the Georgian Senator had corresponded directly with law enforcement officials. Pictured with her cellphone on Thursday, the Georgian Senator avoided the same fate as her colleague Bill Burr
On Wednesday night, federal authorities raided Republican Senator Richard Burr’s Washington residence and seized his cell phone, allegedly to examine communications he shared with his broker
In a February 7 op-ed that he co-authored with another senator, he said ‘the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.’
That month however, according to a recording obtained by NPR, Burr had given a VIP group at an exclusive social club a much more dire preview of the economic impact of the the coronavirus, warning it could curtail business travel, cause schools to be closed and result in the military mobilizing to compensate for overwhelmed hospitals.
The Republican senator, who does not plan to run for reelection in 2022, has previously denied using any information he gained as a senator to benefit him financially in the stock market.
Burr resigned from his position atop the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning, just hours after the raid.
‘This morning, I informed Majority Leader McConnell that I have made the decision to step aside as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee until this investigation is resolved,’ Burr said in a statement, indicating the move is not permanent.
‘The work the Intelligence Committee and its members do is too important to risk hindering in any way,’ he continued. ‘I believe this step is necessary to allow the Committee to continue its essential work free of external distractions.’
Senator Richard Burr stepped aside as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday after the FBI raided him home and seized his cell phone in coordination with the DOJ investigation
McConnell also suggested that the move is ‘temporary’ but its speed underlines the scale of shock around a sitting senator being raided by the FBI.
‘Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation,’ McConnell said Thursday afternoon.
‘We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow,’ the top Senate Republican continued.
Trump said before departing for a day-trip to Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon that he did not know about the raid ahead of time.
‘No I never have. I didn’t know,’ he told reporters before boarding Marine One.
Burr chaired the committee that issued a report showing Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The North Carolina senator, who also is a member of the health committee, sold a large percentage of his stock portfolio in February shortly before the market slumped and just after he began receiving daily briefings on the coronavirus.
Questions emerged this week, however, over whether Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler will face the same fate for her investment actions at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
On MSNBC, Trump enemy Joe Scarborough asked whether Loeffler had not been targeted by the Department of Justice because Trump likes her – while he sees Burr as an enemy for his committee concluding Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and refusing to pursue perceived enemies in Trump’s alleged ‘Obamagate’ scandal.
And in a fresh development in the scandal, Democrat Dianne Feinstein revealed that she handed over financial documents to the FBI in April related to her husband’s stock transactions.
Burr chaired the committee that issued a report showing Russian interference in the 2016 election, but Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday that he ‘didn’t know’ about the raid on Burr’s Washington residence ahead of it being carried out
Feinstein, a Democrat, asserted that she has ‘no input’ in her husband’s finances and said after handing over documents and speaking with the FBI ‘there have been no follow up actions on this issue’
Senator Dianne Feinstein (left) revealed Thursday that she spoke to the FBI and handed over documents regarding her husband Richard Blum’s (center) stock transactions as it investigates potential insider trading in Congress
Feinstein, who is the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and a member of the Intelligence committee, spoke to the FBI last month as her husband Richard Blum’s transactions have come under fire, and one of her spokespeople claimed ‘there have been no follow up actions on this issue.’
‘Senator Feinstein was asked some basic questions by law enforcement about her husband’s stock transactions,’ a spokesperson for the California senator said in a statement Thursday.
‘She was happy to voluntarily answer those questions to set the record straight and provided additional documents to show she had no involvement in her husband’s transactions,’ the statement continued.
Feinstein has asserted in April that she has ‘no input’ in her husband’s finances.
Senate records revealed that Blum sold shares of Allogene Therapeutics, a California biotechnology company, on Jan. 31 and at least $1 million in Allogene stock on Feb. 18.
Also ensnared in the scandal is Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth (above), who sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of stock on the same day Burr sold his
Also ensnared in the scandal is Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, who sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of stock on the same day Burr sold his.
Fauth avoided between $37,000 and $118,000 in losses by selling off when he did, considering how steeply the companies’ shares fell in weeks after, according to an analysis by Luke Brindle-Khym, a partner and general counsel of Manhattan-based investigative firm QRI.
Brindle-Khym obtained Fauth’s financial disclosure from the Office of Government Ethics and shared it with ProPublica. Government forms only require that the value of stock trades be disclosed in ranges. After the February sales, the total value of Fauth’s individual stock holdings appears to be between $680,000 and $2 million.
A review of Fauth’s financial disclosure forms since 2017 show that he is not a frequent stock trader, but that he also had a major day of sales in August 2019.
On Feb. 13, Fauth or his spouse sold between $15,001 and $50,000 of Altria, the tobacco company; between $50,001 and $100,000 of snack food maker Mondelez International; and between $1,001 and $15,000 of home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma.
He also sold stakes in several oil companies, which have been hit particularly hard, including between $15,001 and $50,000 of Chevron; between $1,001 and $15,000 of BP and between $15,001 and $50,000 of Royal Dutch Shell.
Burr has denied coordinating his stock market trading with his brother-in-law.
Congress prohibited lawmakers from acting on privileged intelligence they obtain in their public office positions, such as during briefings with high-level federal officials, in 2012.
Known as the STOCK act, lawmakers must disclose their stock market activity , but are however allowed to own stock, even in industries they may be responsible for overseeing.
The law passed the Senate in 2012 in a vote of 96-3. Among the three opposing senators was Richard Burr.