A US Senator reportedly sold off stock ahead of Covid-19 market crash
- Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican from Georgia, sold off stock following a Capitol Hill briefing on the threat of Covid-19.
- She then invested in a company that sells telecommuting software, The Daily Beast reports.
- Loeffler's husband is chairman of The New York Stock Exchange, and she previously ran a crypto-currency firm.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The wealthiest member of the US Senate sold off over a million dollars worth of shares ahead of the stock market drop, after being briefed on the likely impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, The Daily Beast revealed on Thursday.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican from Georgia appointed to her office by the state's governor, then turned around and invested in a company well-positioned to capitalise on the impending crisis: a technology firm that sells telecommuting software.
In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Loeffler insisted that the report was "a ridiculous and baseless attack."
"Sen. Loeffler does not make investment decisions for her portfolio," the spokesperson said. "Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without her or her husband's knowledge or involvement. As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, Senator Loeffler was informed of these purchases and sales on February 16, 2020- three weeks after they were made."
Prior to public life, Loeffler served as chief executive of Bakkt, a crypto-currency services firm owned by InterContinental Exchange (ICE), the operator of The New York Stock Exchange. Her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the founder of ICE and chairman of the stock exchange. Together, the couple owns more than $500 million in ICE stock alone, according to Fortune magazine.
Loeffler, who took office in January, attended a January 24, Senate Health Committee briefing "regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak." The Daily Beast reports that he began selling off stock later that day.
Citing filings with Senate ethics officials, The Daily Beast report states that Loeffler sold between $50,001 and $100,000 worth of stock in Resideo Technologies. Shares in the company closed at $11.38 that day; as of March 19, those shares are now worth $5.11. Between then and mid-February, Loeffler and her husband made 29 stock transactions, including purchases worth between $100,000 and $250,000 in Citrix, "a technology company that offers teleworking software."
Loeffler is the second Republican senator found to have sold a massive share of stocks weeks ahead of the market crash. Earlier on Thursday, ProPublica revealed that Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, dumped between $628,000 and $1.7 million in shares on February 13.
All the while, The Daily Beast notes, Loeffler was presenting an upbeat message regarding the looming pandemic. "Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #coronavirus readiness," she tweeted on February 28.
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