Senator Liquidates Remaining Stocks After Coronavirus Controversy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher are liquidating the rest of their stock holdings and will instead invest in exchange traded funds (ETFs), according to Axios.

The move comes after Loeffler and other lawmakers came under fire for selling stocks following a private congressional briefing on coronavirus, and shortly before the market crashed. Loeffler bought and sold roughly $1.4 million in stock, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Ms. Loeffler reported that she and her husband bought about $590,000 of stock and sold about $845,000 of stock from Feb. 18 through March 13. If they had held the shares they sold through Monday, the stock would have been valued at $86,000 less than what they sold it for, according to the Journal analysis." -WSJ (03/31/2020)

In a Wednesday WSJ op-ed, Loeffler wrote that while she fully complied with the law, the move into ETFs will hopefully "end the distractions" caused by the corona-controversy. Of note, she faces a competitive election fight in November - while her Senate campaign told Axios that her opponents "are clearly using her stock portfolio as a political weapon for an assault on her character during a national crisis," adding that the new strategy will end "untrue" accusations of insider trading.

More via Axios:

The campaign explains Loeffler's investments are managed by third-party advisors at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Sepio Capital and Wells Fargo, and neither Loeffler nor her husband — the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange's owner — direct trading in these accounts.

  • “As longtime executives at a Fortune 500 financial-services firm, my husband and I put this arrangement in place to insulate ourselves and our colleagues from these sorts of unfounded accusations,” Loeffler said.
  • “I’m not doing this because I have to. I’ve done everything the right way and in compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, Senate ethics rules and U.S. law. I’m doing it because the issue isn’t worth the distraction,” she added.

Loeffler's full statement: 

I have not profited or attempted to profit at any time based on my service in the Senate. This story was manufactured by a left-wing website, never fact checked and used as a weapon by the media and my political opponents as a baseless attack. There is no truth to any of it.

Our family’s investments have long been managed by outside investment advisors at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Sepio Capital, and Wells Fargo. They make their investment decisions for our accounts, including buying and selling securities like stocks and options —without our input, direction or knowledge.

For my over-20-year career in the financial services industry—as well as since I’ve been in the Senate—I have done everything according to the spirit and the letter of the law, and have been recognized for my integrity, professionalism and hard work.

Amid this health crisis, the temptation to circulate lies and misinformation is too great for the media and my political opponents. That is why I’m taking steps to remove this temptation so that we can turn our focus back to where it belongs: on combating COVID-19 and restoring our country to health and economic recovery.

All of the individual stock and options holdings in these managed accounts will be liquidated by the investment managers and the proceeds will be reinvested into ETFs and mutual funds.

Let me be clear: I do not have to do this. I’ve done everything at or above the requirements for complying with the STOCK Act, SEC regulations, Senate Ethics rules, and US law, and of course, will continue to do so.

I’m doing this because this transparency is being abused for political gain, and the steps I’ve taken to distance myself from these accounts are being ignored. I left the private sector to serve the people of Georgia, not make a profit, and in fact donate my Senate pay to Georgia charities.

I believe Georgians can see with my results in just three months in the Senate that my focus is on delivering results for them, and delivering relief for those impacted by COVID-19. As an outsider, I came to get results and I won’t let politics get in the way of public service and keeping our state and our country strong.