GOP Rep Bought Stocks In Zoom And Sold Cruise Line Shares Ahead Of Market Crash

Representative Phil Roe in 2016.Screengrab / Knoxville News Sentinel / YouTube

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After news of the trades broke, Roe asserted that a 3rd party investment manager made the decisions independent of him.

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.

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