Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler, who dumped millions in stocks following a private Covid 19 briefing, dodged a question about whether senators should trade stocks
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in Washington Reuters

Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who’s facing a runoff election in January, dodged a question at a debate on Sunday night about whether US senators should be permitted to trade stocks while they hold office.

Loeffler sold millions of dollars in stocks shortly after she received a private briefing on the emerging coronavirus in January, prompting a Justice Department investigation that didn’t lead to charges.

On Sunday night, Loeffler called the controversy surrounding her trades a “left-wing media lie” and refused to weigh in on whether senators should be allowed to trade stocks.

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Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who’s facing a runoff election in January, dodged a question at a debate on Sunday night about whether US senators should be permitted to trade stocks while they hold office.

Loeffler, a multi-millionaire whose husband is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold millions of dollars in stocks shortly after she received a private briefing from health officials on the emerging coronavirus in January, prompting a Justice Department investigation, which didn’t lead to charges. Loeffler has said outside advisers handle her and her husband’s trades. 

On Sunday night, Loeffler pivoted away from the debate moderator’s question and called it an attack on American’s pursuing the American dream. She called the controversy surrounding her trades a “left-wing media lie” and a “conspiracy.” 

“Look, what’s at stake here in this election is the American dream,” she said. “This is an attack on every single Georgian who gets up everyday to work hard to provide a better life for their family.”

Senators are barred from using non-public information to make decisions about stock trades under the 2012 STOCK Act. The Justice Department investigated Loeffler’s trading, but declined to press charges for insider trading. The GOP-controlled Senate Ethics Committee also cleared Loeffler of wrongdoing.  

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Loeffler’s Democratic opponent, Reverend Raphael Warnock, went after Loeffler for her controversial stock trades at one point during Sunday’s debate, comparing her lucrative trades to her initial refusal to support Congress’ $2 trillion pandemic relief legislation last spring. 

“You dumped millions of dollars of stock in order to protect your own investments and then weeks later when there came an opportunity to give ordinary Georgians an extra $600 of relief, you said you saw no need and called it counterproductive,” he said. 

Loeffler responded that she’s been “completely exonerated” and that she’s “worked hard to deliver relief to Georgians during this pandemic.” 

Georgia’s other senator, Republican David Perdue, is also facing a runoff election on January 5 and has similarly been accused of insider trading. Over his last six-year term, Perdue has made 2,596 trades on the stock market – the most transactions by far of any senator during that time period, according to a New York Times report. 

Perdue has said his advisers at Goldman Sachs handle his day-to-day stock trades, but he has directed some transactions, according to the Times. The Justice Department investigated but didn’t bring charges against Perdue over his sale of more than $1 million in stocks in Cardlytics, a company he previously sat on the board of, just weeks before the firm’s founder said he would step down and its stock value plummeted. 

The two Senate runoffs in January will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate. 

President-elect Joe Biden won the state of Georgia, which hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in almost 30 years, by more than 12,000 votes. The state conducted two recounts last month before the governor certified Biden’s win.  

But Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, are falsely claiming that Georgia’s election was rigged or stolen by Democrats. Trump has aggressively attacked the state’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, and its Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, in an attempt to pressure them to illegally overturn the results of the election. 

Loeffler refused to say whether Georgia’s election was “rigged” and wouldn’t say whether Biden had won the presidential election, instead claiming Trump had “every right” to pursue investigations and litigation concerning the election.  

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Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler, who dumped millions in stocks following a private Covid 19 briefing, dodged a question about whether senators should trade stocks

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