Plain Selfish? Two U.S. Senators Illegally Cash Out Their Stocks Before the Coronavirus Outbreak
Two US senators have reportedly violated federal law, selling off millions of dollars in stocks after they were tipped off that the coronavirus pandemic can possibly tank the stock market.
The first senator who reportedly cashed in their stock was Georgian Sen. Kelly Loeffler. At that time, the senator’s husband, Jeffrey C. Sprecher, was the chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.
Based on reports, Sprecher had reportedly sold off millions of stocks the very same day his wife received the information that the pandemic might have a massive effect on the economy. Sen. Loeffler was present in a senate meeting on January 24. As proof, the Georgian senator even shared on her Twitter post: “Appreciate today’s briefing from the President’s top health officials on the novel coronavirus outbreak.”
Appreciate today’s briefing from the President’s top health officials on the novel coronavirus outbreak. These men and women are working around the clock to keep our country safe and healthy. #gapol https://t.co/5866TrrEFc— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) January 25, 2020
Within the next three weeks, the couple had already made 27 sales or approximately $1,275,000 and $3,100,000 before the stock finally market crashed. Most importantly, the couple was able to purchase stocks on two work from home-related tech companies, namely Citrix and Oracle. What is even more incriminating is that the senator has not made any “market moves” before the senate meeting.
After securing her stocks, Loeffler bashed Democrats for trying to increase the panic and worry among the American public. In one of her Twitter posts, Loeffler implied that the left-winged party tried to “misled” the public in terms of coronavirus preparedness. The senator also went on to praise President Donald Trump and his administration in their efforts to keep Americans safe.
The Georgian senator tried to deny such allegations. According to her spokesperson, Loeffler was not “aware” until weeks after the said sales. In an official statement, Loeffler’s camp said that such allegations were “ridiculous and baseless attacks.” The spokesperson also went on to clarify that it was not up to the couple to make the market decisions, but rather through third-party advisors, generating the sales even without their knowledge or involvement.
While it might be quite hard to believe that a New York Stock exchange CEO would sell his stocks without his prior knowledge, another US senator also went on to follow suit.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr also sold more than $1.56 million in stock after he had attended a confidential briefing with regards to the coronavirus outbreak.
On February 13, the soon to be retiring senator dumped his stocks from the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. He also went off to sell almost $100,000 in his Extended Stay America stock.
All of Burr’s 29 transactions came at the same time as daily briefings were held regarding the coronavirus. Just like Loeffler, Burr’s transactions incidentally, were less than a week before the US stock market tanked. Now, all of the stocks that he had sold off are only worth a fraction of their previous market price.
What is even more concerning is that both senators were able to hide a public persona successfully. Less than a week before Burr dumped off his investments, the senator hypocritically wrote a column to assure the public of the administration’s competence and preparedness in dealing with the outbreak. In his article, Burr concluded, “No matter the outbreak or threat, Congress and the federal government have been vigilant in identifying gaps in its readiness efforts and improving its response capabilities.”