Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) has provided information to federal law enforcement and financial authorities about the sales of millions of dollars of stock owned by her and her husband in the wake of a closed-door Senate briefing on the coronavirus in January, Loeffler’s office said on Thursday.
Loeffler and her husband, New York Stock Exchange CEO Jeff Sprecher, unloaded millions in equities in the weeks after that briefing, as U.S. stock markets tanked, even as the two acquired a stake in a popular teleconferencing company whose stock has increased in value since that purchase. The Daily Beast first reported those transactions in March.
In a statement on Thursday evening, a Loeffler spokesperson said the senator “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.”
Loeffler’s sharing of that information comes as the FBI probes insider trading allegations against members of Congress who sold stocks in the weeks before the coronavirus outbreak sent markets plummeting. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) stepped down from his post atop the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday after the FBI reportedly served a search warrant at his home and seized his cellphone the prior evening. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) was also questioned and turned over documentation to the FBI regarding her husband’s recent stock trades.
Federal law prohibits members of Congress from using nonpublic information obtained through their official position to inform investment decisions.
Loeffler’s office did not respond to a request to clarify the nature of her interactions with law enforcement officials.
She and her husband have vehemently denied any wrongdoing. They insist that all of their stock trades are handled by a third-party investment adviser—though Loeffler has refused to name that adviser—and that their sales of stock this year were not informed or prompted by nonpublic information gleaned through her official duties.
Loeffler nonetheless announced last month that she and Sprecher would liquidate their individual stock holdings. Her re-election campaign has since attacked The Daily Beast by name for reporting on her stock transactions in a huge advertising campaign designed to shore up her shaky political standing ahead of a competitive Republican primary election.
Loeffler was appointed to her Senate seat by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in December. Upon taking office in January, she immediately became the Senate’s wealthiest member. She has pledged to spend $20 million of her personal fortune on her re-election campaign this year.
That campaign is pitting Loeffler against Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), a Trump ally popular with grassroots conservatives in the state. Since news of Loeffler’s stock transactions broke, Collins has surged ahead in polls in that primary contest.
Loeffler nevertheless enjoys the backing of political machines allied with Kemp and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.