As we noted just a few weeks ago, two Senators — Kelly Loeffler from Georgia and Richard Burr from North Carolina, both of whom were publicly trying to play down the risks associated with COVID-19 — were quietly engaging in stock trades that suggested they had a different viewpoint (while five different Senators sold stock during this period, only Loeffler’s and Burr’s look particularly suspicious). Burr’s stock sell-off was revealed first, and got the most attention, in part because he’s also the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was getting classified briefings about COVID-19. The latest news on that front is that the Justice Department has supposedly opened an investigation:
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold off a large amount of stocks before the coronavirus market crash, and now the Justice Department is looking into his statements around this time period, NPR can report.
Others have reported that the FBI has been in contact with Burr. That doesn’t mean much for now, and the investigation may turn up nothing. But it’s worth noting that it’s happening.
The other Senator, Kelly Loeffler, has some more bad news, as new reports suggest even more stock trading that at least looks suspicious. As was noted in the original report, Loeffler had sold off a bunch of retail stock, and bought into a company that does videoconferencing. The original reports suggest that she sold off somewhere between $1.3 million and $3.1 million in stock right before the US economy went south. Turns out it was way more. The new report shows that she also sold off nearly $19 million in stock of Intercontinental Exchange, the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange. It is worth noting that Loeffler’s husband is the chair and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, and the sales took place between February 26th and March 11th. That means at least some of those sales were happening while she was insisting that the US had everything under control.
Perhaps even more damning, though? Beyond buying into a videoconferencing software company, Loeffler and her husband, Jeff Sprecher, also purchased a bunch of stock in DuPont, a major supplier of the personal protective gear that hospitals are all now desperate for:
Sprecher bought $206,774 in chemical giant DuPont de Nemours in four transactions in late February and early March. DuPont has performed poorly on Wall Street lately, but the company is a major supplier of desperately needed personal protective gear as the global pandemic strains hospital and first responders.
So, to recap: they sold somewhere in the range of $20 million worth of mostly stock market and retail companies — and bought into videoconferencing and protective health gear. All while telling the public that the government she’s a part of has everything under control.