Ad says Republican was investigated, ‘cleared’ of wrongdoing
U.S. Sen. David Perdue countered attacks that he leveraged inside information to profit off the coronavirus pandemic, airing an ad Wednesday that accuses his Democratic opponent of “lying” about his stock trades.
The 30-second spot marked the first time the Republican’s campaign has explicitly acknowledged he faced an investigation of his financial transactions in the weeks before the pandemic sparked economic turmoil.
The spot, called “Lie,” is a response to recent ads from Jon Ossoff and his allies that claim the first-term Republican benefited from a confidential briefing on the coronavirus to inform stock trades as the disease spread.
“Jon Ossoff and Chuck Schumer have been caught in a lie. Senator Perdue welcomed a full review of his stock trades. And the Department of Justice, the SEC and even the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee cleared him completely,” the narrator says.
“Despite that, Ossoff and Schumer continue to lie, spending millions to hide their radical, socialist agenda. What else are they lying about?”
Perdue’s campaign provided a portion of a June 16 letter from Ethics Committee chief counsel Deborah Sue Mayer that said the panel “did not find evidence that your actions violated federal law, Senate Rules, or standards of conduct” and that the matter was dismissed.
A spokeswoman said separately that Perdue’s legal counsel was informed by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission that the matter was “closed." She said there was no formal documentation to back up the claim.
Perdue’s office had previously declined to comment on the details of a possible investigation.
In a statement late Wednesday, Ossoff’s campaign panned Perdue for “spending millions bragging on television that he hasn’t been indicted for obviously unethical behavior.”
“David Perdue's panicked defense is a joke. The facts remain undeniable and disqualifying: While privy to private briefings on the true scope of the threat posed by this virus, Senator Perdue was working to line his own pockets, trading stocks at three times his normal rate while lying to the public about the health and economic risks and comparing COVID-19 to the flu."
Perdue is among several senators that came under scrutiny for stock trades after a Jan. 24 briefing focused on the disease, and Ossoff has ratcheted up the criticism of the transactions as polls tighten, accusing Perdue of “corruption” in one of his most recent TV ads.
Records show nearly 100 trades were made on Perdue’s behalf from late January through mid-February, some from firms that surged during the pandemic and others that struggled.
The Republican’s office denies allegations of wrongdoing, saying he wasn’t at the closed-door briefing in late January and that the stock trades were handled by advisers who operated independently without his input.
Weeks later, Perdue announced those third-party aides would no longer trade stocks in individual companies on his behalf. And in the latest ad, the Republican’s campaign highlights findings by federal authorities that the narrator says “cleared him completely.”
See the ad here:
About the Author
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.