Ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee caught dumping stock
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, along with three of her Senate colleagues, sold off millions of dollars worth of stocks just days before the deadly coronavirus outbreak crashed the market, reports reveal.
The financial disclosures from Senate members are listed on a U.S. Senate website.
The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million worth of stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics between the dates Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, according to The New York Times.
A spokesman for Feinstein argued she was not directly involved in the sale.
“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” the spokesman, Tom Mentzer, told the Times.
“She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”
Three other senators, including Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, were also identified.
Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler sold roughly $3.1 million in stocks she jointly held with her husband between January 24 and February 14, shortly before the Chinese virus sent the stock market into freefall.
Her colleague, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, also dumped around $1.5 million of his own stocks in February.
The report state the transactions showed a significant percentage of the senator’s holdings, which took place around a week before the coronavirus outbreak sent shock waves through the stock market.
“Senator Burr filed a financial disclosure form for personal transactions made several weeks before the U.S. and financial markets showed signs of volatility due to the growing coronavirus outbreak,” a Burr spokesperson said.
“As the situation continues to evolve daily, he has been deeply concerned by the steep and sudden toll this pandemic is taking on our economy.”
Burr was also an author of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, a law that determines the federal response to virus outbreaks, according to ProPublica.
But Burr’s office refused to comment on the kind of information Burr received before the coronavirus outbreak.
As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, I was informed of these purchases and sales on February 16, 2020 — three weeks after they were made.
— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) March 20, 2020
NPR also reported that Burr made suggestive comments behind closed doors last month.
“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” Burr said during business leaders meeting in Washington.
“It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, who is chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold stock Jan. 24, the same day she sat in on a briefing from two members of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, according to The Daily Beast.
The couple sold stock worth a total between $1.2 million and $3.1 million between that day and Feb. 14.
Additionally, they also bought stock in a maker of software that helps people work at home – mysteriously before millions of Americans were forced to leave their offices and work from home because of the pandemic.
Loeffler said the reports were “ridiculous and baseless attack” in a pair of late-night tweets.
“This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement,” Loeffler wrote.
“As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, I was informed of these purchases and sales on February 16, 2020 — three weeks after they were made.”
Loeffler doubled down during an interview Friday with Fox News’ Ed Henry, saying claims of insider trading is “absolutely false.”
“I’m not involved in the decisions” of buying and selling.
Inhofe has sold $400,000 in stock all on Jan. 27 in companies such as Apple, PayPal, and real estate company Brookfield Asset Management, The New York Times reported.