Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, are liquidating all of their stock holdings.
The announcement follows persistent allegations that the Senator engaged in insider trading after attending a closed-door briefing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee in January.
Loeffler’s stock dump came shortly before the sharp market decline. She also purchased shares in companies associated with the manufacturing of personal protective equipment and teleworking technology.
The couple’s decision comes one day after an internal poll from Loeffler’s primary opponent, Rep. Doug Collins, showed Collins with a 23 point lead.
CNBC’s Dan Mangan and Thomas Franck have more:
Loeffler on Wednesday reiterated her defense of the prior stock sales as legally and ethically proper, and her claim that the couple’s trading was handled by third parties without her prior knowledge.
Loeffler, who is the richest member of the Senate, said in a Wall Street Journal opinion page article announcing her decision that her stock holdings would be converted to mutual funds and exchange-traded funds by third-party advisors who handle her investments.
The Journal article carries the headline, “I Never Traded on Confidential Coronavirus Information,” a reference to the fact that Loeffler’s and Sprecher’s trades came after the Senator was briefed with other lawmakers about the virus by federal health officials.
In a statement announcing her liquidation of individual shares, Loeffler, said, “Amid this health crisis, the temptation to circulate lies and misinformation is too great for the media and my political opponents.”
Other United States senators have come under scrutiny for making large stock trades after they attended the same private briefing on the seriousness of COVID-19. They include Richard Burr (R-NC), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and James Inhofe (R-OK).
Burr simultaneously downplayed the threat of COVID-19 in a February 7 op-ed published on foxnews.com.
On March 10, Loeffler posted a video to Twitter (weeks after her shares were sold) where she claimed, “the consumer is strong, the economy is strong [and] jobs are growing.”
Concerned about #coronavirus? Remember this:
The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle #COVID19 & keep Americans safe.
— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) March 10, 2020