April 6, 2020 – UPDATED: The story continues to evolve. Media sources are now reporting that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) benefited from stock trades at levels much higher than previously reported, or acknowledged, by the Senator after she attended a private briefing on the coronavirus pandemic risk and projections of its impact on the U.S. economy.
Loeffler sold stock worth $18.7 million in the days before the general public was alerted to the severity of the Covid-19 crisis, selling off shares in industries that it is now known have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. She also purchased shares in companies that are now benefitting by the crisis, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) report published late Tuesday, April 1. The AJC story is just one of many media and governmental watchdog ources following this story.
Sen. Loeffler is a member of the Senate Health Committee. SEC filings show that she began selling stocks on January 24, the same day that that the committee held a private all-members session on Covid-19, and made additional trades in February and March.
According to a financial disclosure she provided to the AJC, her largest transaction involved the sale of $18.7 million in Intercontinental Exchange stock in three separate deals dated February 26 and March 11. Intercontinental Exchange operates global exchanges for several financial and commodity markets, and since Loeffler made her first sale, its stock has fallen by 16 percent.
But her campaign states , “These transactions are consistent with historical portfolio activity and include a balanced mix of buys and sells. Her stock portfolio is managed independently by third-party advisors and she is notified, as indicated on the report, after transactions occur.”
She is one of several U.S. Senators whose stock transactions are being questioned.
Loeffler has not stated under oath whether she or her husband contacted those who many their porfolios.
Her husband is Jeffrey Sprecher, chair of the New York Stock Exchange, and chair and CEO of its holding company, Intercontinental Exchange. His position, alone, is a conflict in the eyes of many Georgia voters who have taken to social media to criticize the couples’ financial transactions, and questions the coincidence of their timing.
The Vox is reporting, however, that … “ a spokesperson for the senator told the AJC that the sell-offs were pre-planned as part of Sprecher’s compensation package and were made in order to pay taxes, cover transaction costs, and produce “liquidity.”
“And as Loeffler and Sprecher made those sales, a number of stocks added to their portfolio have seen gains as the Covid-19 crisis deepens. For instance, the couple obtained $206,777 in shares of chemical giant Dupont, which produces critical protective gear to combat transmission of the virus, in four separate transactions in late February and early March. They also acquired shares in telecommuting company Citrix on January 24 — again, the same day the Senate Health Committee held a private meeting about the coronavirus,” writes The Vox.
Sen. Leoffler was appointed by Gov. Kemp to fill former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson’s seat in January, after he resigned due to health issues last year.
The Senator is scheduled to participate in a conference call today with members of the Savannah- Chatham Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Leadership Council. Members were given an opportunity to submit questions to the Senator in advance, with the inference that there will be on “live” questions allowed.
Special Election Nov. 3, 2020 and Her Challengers
Sen. Leoffler will face a long list of challengers in a Special Election to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3. 2020, the same day as the General Election for President as well as the elections of a number of other offices on the state and local level.
She was appointed by Kemp effective January 6, 2020, until the special election. A primary election will not occur; instead, all candidates, regardless of party, will be placed on the same ballot on Nov. 3. Party labels will be printed on the ballot, and if no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a run-off election, to be held Jan. 5, 2021.
The questions about her stock transactions have added a new level of questioning by those challenging her from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
In all, there are 20 other candidates from diverse backgrounds who have qualified for the Nov. 3 Special Election, including Doug Collins, incumbent U.S. Representative for Georgia's 9th congressional district, a declared Republican candidate for her U.S. Senate seat, as well as Republican Derrick Grayson, a network engineer and U.S. Navy veteran; Annette Davis Jackson, businesswoman; Wayne Johnson, former chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid; Kandiss Taylor, student services coordinator for Appling County Board of Education; and former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver for the Southern District Office in Savannah.