GOP Rep Bought Stocks In Zoom And Sold Cruise Line Shares Ahead Of Market Crash
The Hill reports that Representative Phil Roe (R-TN) sold cruise line stocks and invested into companies that produce vaccines and provide video conferencing services ahead of the market’s plunge in March.
It is not clear if Roe, a ranking member of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, was privy to any information about the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential effect on the economy prior to public statements and measures.
The Tennessean reports that from March 6 to March 9, “Roe sold 97 stocks valued at between $688,000 and $3.5 million.” This included shares owned in 60 different companies. Among the companies represented were Disney, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Philip Morris, Bank of America, Delta Airlines, and Chevron.
Meanwhile, in early January Roe purchased at least $75,001 in stocks. The Tennessean writes, “Many of the 62 different companies he bought stock in on [January] 6 have a major presence on the Internet.” A few examples include Alphabet, Amazon, Carvana, Spotify, Roku, Slack, and Zoom.
“Roe also invested in several health care and science companies that have seen their stocks later surge while working to address COVID-19,” the Tennessean reports. One of these was biotechnology company Moderna, which later “announced it was working with the… National Institutes of Health to finalize a sequence to create a COVID-19 vaccine.” Roe also invested in Veeva, Medpace, Guardant, and Catalent.
Roe purchased additional stock on January 31, one day after top United States health officials met with members of Congress behind closed doors to discuss COVID-19. Roe may have been referencing this meeting in a February 12 interview with the Family Research Council when he said, “A couple weeks ago they brought all of us in the House for a briefing.”
However, a spokesperson told the Hill that Roe does not control his own stock trading, instead relying on a third party investment manager.
Congressman Roe does not manage his personal stock investments and uses a third party investment manager to handle personal stock purchases and sales.
Kedric Payne, legal counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, acknowledged that there is not yet evidence that makes it certain that Roe acted based on non-public information. However, he seemed to examine the data very keenly.
There is nothing in the public record yet to suggest Roe had non-public material information when he made [the trades…] But you just never know what’s going to come to light.