Justice Dept Ends Inside Trader Investigation into Georgia Senator’s Stock Sales
Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) is among three U.S. senators whose stock trades ahead of the coronavirus crisis will no longer be investigated by the Justice Department, reported The Wall Street Journal.
According to The New York Times, “Loeffler and her husband, the financial executive Jeffrey C. Sprecher, reported transactions worth millions of dollars beginning in late January, right after senators received their first private briefing from top health officials on Covid-19.”
Adding to a notion of impropriety, Politico reported last week that Sprecher, who is chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, “sent a $1 million check to the leading pro-Trump super PAC even as [Loeffler has] been fending off criticism around her family’s stock trading.”
Along with Loeffler, the Justice Department is closing its probes into Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
These investigations started two months ago, when “reports emerged that several members of Congress, their spouses or their investment advisers sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock after lawmakers attended closed-door briefings about the threat posed by the pandemic,” thus saving them “as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses as stocks sank by mid-March.”
“All of the lawmakers have denied any impropriety in the trading,” with Loeffler, Inhofe, and Feinstein claiming that “their investment advisers made the trades and that they didn’t learn of them until after the fact.””
While the three senators are able to benefit from the closure of the investigations into their tradings, Senator Richard Burr may face more serious consequences with the investigation into his similarly suspicious stock trades.
Burr is struggling against his investigation, as “earlier this month he agreed to temporarily step down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after FBI agents obtained a warrant to seize his cellphone in connection with the investigation.”
Supposedly, investigators have “obtained evidence that shows Mr. Burr was talking to people with specific insight about the threats posed by Covid-19 whose thinking wasn’t available to the public.”
There is uncertainty regarding whether Burr’s actions could fall under constitutional protection, as prosecutors are examining “whether the wide latitude granted to lawmakers under the speech and debate clause of the U.S. Constitution would limit their ability to win any insider-trading trial against Mr. Burr.”
Overall, it seems that Burr will be facing a much longer and more serious struggle with his investigation than the other three senators experienced.
Written by Megan Everts.