U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has provided no proof that financial advisers making stock transactions on her behalf have total control over decision-making.
The Georgia senator has been accused of using insider information procured from Senate briefings on the coronavirus to inform her recent stock trades. In response to the criticism, Loeffler says that financial consultants acting independently conduct all transactions on her behalf.
To this day, however, Loeffler has not provided details about how her portfolio is managed and who does that work. She won’t name her advisers or say what company they work for or disclose what kind of agreement she has with them.
Loeffler also has not said whether she or her husband, Jeff Sprecher, provided these consultants with general directions about how they want their money invested or if the advisers created an investment strategy policy for the couple.
Sprecher is chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, as well as founder and chief executive of its parent company, the Intercontinental Exchange. Loeffler stepped down as chief executive of Bakkt, an ICE subsidiary, after she was appointed to the U.S. Senate late last year. Together, the couple is estimated to be worth more than $500 million.
In the absence of information that could quell accusations that Loeffler participated in insider trading, the controversy continues to dog her.
Democrats, political watchdog groups and even some Republicans have said she should resign. Her defenders say the criticism is misguided and based upon misunderstanding about how a woman of immense wealth handles her finances.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the first to review her most recent financial disclosures, which showed that the couple sold shares in retail stores such as Lululemon and T.J. Maxx and invested in a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments. During that same time period covering mid-February through mid-March, Loeffler and Sprecher also made $18.7 million in sales of ICE stock.
The couple also purchased about $50,000 in stock for the travel website Booking, only to turn around just a few days later and sell it back. Those transactions occurred at the same time that President Donald Trump restricted international travel to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In a document provided to the AJC that provided information about these transactions, Loeffler’s team said that the couple bought Booking stock on March 10 and sold it on March 12 and 13. The dates were different on the financial disclosure report filed with the U.S. Senate; the Booking purchase is dated March 6 and the sales on March 10 and 11.
Loeffler spent the day of March 6 touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta with Trump. Trump announced the travel ban the evening of March 11.
Loeffler’s team said the documents provided to the AJC were a draft versions and the dates provided later to the Senate are accurate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said if he he is bothered by Loeffler’s trading or transactions made by other senators whose portfolio has also faced scrutiny over the past two weeks. He also wouldn’t say whether he thinks the Senate Ethics Committee should investigate her or any of the others.
A spokesman said Saturday that McConnell is still supportive of Loeffler, adding that previous comments he made praising her appointment stand.
Audience specialist Isaac Sabetai contributed to this report.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.