Georgia U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler announced this week that she will divest from individual stocks after facing intense criticism for transactions made after a January COVID-19 briefing.
The multimillionaire, who was appointed to the seat by Gov. Brian Kemp in November, wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that she was liquidating her stock holdings and moving them to mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
“I’m not doing this because I have to,” Loeffler wrote. “I’ve done everything the right way and in compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, Senate ethics rules and U.S. law.
“I’m doing it because the issue isn’t worth the distraction. My family’s investment accounts are being used as weapons for an assault on my character at a time when we should all be focused on making our country safe and strong,” she added, saying “the media fixated on a fantasy of improper congressional trading.”
The Daily Beast broke the story last month that Loeffler unloaded seven figures’ worth of stock holdings the same day of a Jan. 24 briefing on the novel coronavirus. She also purchased stock in companies like Citrix, which provides teleworking software. The AJC has reported that Loeffler sold off $1.8 million in stocks.
Loeffler has said no nonpublic information was provided at the briefing and that her and her husband’s accounts were managed by third-party firms. Loeffler’s husband is Jeffrey Sprecher, who is the chair of the New York Stock Exchange.
Her opponents, though, have questioned why she hasn’t gone further and moved her assets into a blind trust.
“This is essentially a guilty plea and Georgians who just saw their retirement plans crater while she profited are not going to agree to the plea deal,” said Dan McLagan, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican who is challenging Loeffler in the November special election.
“She’s less credible than the Chinese government. Same advisors, different funds and no blind trust? We’re not buying it,” McLagan added.