U.S. senators facing accusations that they unloaded stocks before the market plummeted in response to coronavirus fears say it was their financial advisors who authorized the sales, according to news reports.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of both the New York Stock Exchange and its holding company, Intercontinental Exchange, said it was third-party investment advisors who made about 30 trades in their portfolios since late January, CNBC.com writes. The senator didn’t identify the advisors by name when the TV news channel asked her to do so in an interview.
Loeffler tells CNBC she had no discretion over the portfolios in which the trades took place, which she claims were a mix of buys and sells.
The sales came within weeks of a private briefing Loeffler and other senators had with Trump administration officials about the coronavirus outbreak, the news channel’s website writes.
Loeffler isn’t the only lawmaker being scrutinized over potential impropriety in regard to stock sales: Republican senators Richard Burr, R-N.C. and James Inhofe, R-Okla., along with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also sold millions of dollars’ worth of stock after the meeting, according to CNBC.
Inhofe, however, said in a statement he wasn’t present at the Senate coronavirus briefing on Jan. 24, The Hill writes. He also said that he isn’t involved in investment decisions and had told his financial advisor — whom he doesn’t identify — to sell his stocks and move the proceeds into mutual funds when Inhofe was elected chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in December 2018, according to the publication.
“My advisor has been doing so faithfully since that time and I am not aware of or consulted about any transactions," Inhofe said, according to The Hill.
Inhofe sold at least $180,000 worth of stocks on Jan. 27 and at least a further $50,000 in stock on Feb. 20, four days before the market crash, the publication writes.
A spokesman for Feinstein said that the senator had nothing to do with the sale of her stocks. "All of Senator Feinstein's assets are in a blind trust," according to Tom Metzner, who added, "She has no involvement in her husband's financial decisions."
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