Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler accused Democrats of overstating their fears that the federal government was not prepared to handle the spread of the coronavirus — all while quietly dumping millions of dollars of stock and investing in a company that produces medical equipment essential to fighting the pandemic.
The Georgia Republican has been under fire for weeks after reports surfaced that she sold between $1.275 million and $3.1 million in stock after a January 24 closed-door meeting in which she and other senators were briefed on the potential effects of the virus. Loeffler and a handful of other senators sold off large amounts of stock just before the U.S. stock markets dropped sharply amid fears of the economic impact of the virus.
“The largest transactions — and the most politically problematic — involve $18.7 million in sales of Intercontinental Exchange stock in three separate deals dated Feb. 26 and March 11,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted. “Loeffler is a former executive with ICE, and her husband, Jeff Sprecher, is the CEO of the company, which owns the New York Stock Exchange among other financial marketplaces.”
The stock sales had already been reported, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week reported on new filings that revealed another transaction as the couple invested in a medical supply company.
“Sprecher bought $206,774 in chemical giant DuPont de Nemours in four transactions in late February and early March. DuPont has performed poorly on Wall Street lately, but the company is a major supplier of desperately needed personal protective gear as the global pandemic strains hospital and first responders.”
The report added that — as the couple sold shares in some retail clothing companies like Lululemon and T.J. Maxx — they were shifting to invest in a company that makes protective garments for medical workers.
As Vanity Fair noted, Loeffler made the stock transactions around the same time that she was downplaying fears that the federal government was not prepared to handle the outbreak. At the time, she took to Twitter to accuse Democrats of improperly playing up worries over Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic.
“Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness. Here’s the truth: @realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe,” she wrote.
There has been some major pressure on Loeffler and other senators who sold stock just ahead of the major market downturn. Much of the attention has fallen on North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, who sold up to $1.6 million in stock after the Senate Intelligence Committee he chairs received a confidential coronavirus briefing from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health.
As The Inquisitr reported, even conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson spoke out against Burr, demanding an explanation for his stock sales and calling on the senator to resign if he could not provide a satisfactory one.
Loeffler has said that a family financial adviser made the decision on the stock sales and purchases as the coronavirus outbreak unfolded.