Warned of the coming crisis, GOP Senators behaved like rats on a sinking ship
“The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle COVID-19 & keep Americans safe,” tweeted Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler as recently as March 10.
She didn’t mention that her faith in the Trump economy wasn’t quite strong enough to hold on to her Exxon stock, which she had dumped at $60 a few weeks earlier. This morning it was trading below $33. Amazingly, while she was dumping millions of dollars-worth of stocks likely to be hurt by the Trump crash, Loeffler had the foresight to make a big move into the teleworking sector before its sudden boom.
Loeffler claims the trades were done by her financial adviser, but doesn’t deny speaking to said adviser or perhaps her husband, who happens to be the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was busy dumping $1.7 million in stocks — equivalent to his reported 2018 net worth — in 33 separate transactions on February 13. “His committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings around this time,” reports Propublica. On February 7, Burr co-wrote a Fox News op-ed with Senator Lamar Alexander reassuring Americans about how prepared the nation was for any possible pandemic. On February 27, at an exclusive club, he warned a select group of attendees the coronavirus could be as scary as the 2018 “Spanish Flu.”
“There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis”—Tucker Carlson, Fox News
Burr’s actions were so suspicious that even Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said that, unless he could provide an honest explanation for his trades, Burr should resign immediately and face prosecution for insider trading.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kelly Loeffler wasn’t the only Georgia Senator making suspicious trades ahead of the crash. Her colleague David Perdue was also busy adjusting his portfolio. Among more than 100 transactions, he offloaded $165,000 in shares in Caesar Entertainment, “whose facilities have shuttered to help combat the spread of the virus.” Perdue also snagged some drug company stocks which might be expected to do well through the crisis.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe who, as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, came under fire for trading in Raytheon back in 2018, also sold $400,000 in shares on January 27.
Republicans are, of course, trying to loop Democrat Diane Feinstein into the scandal, too. Which would work only if she had dumped shares that would do badly in the crash. In reality, her husband sold shares in Allogene Therapeutics when they were already near their 52-week low. Allogene is precisely the kind of company that might be expected to do well in the the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the period when GOP Senators were cashing out bigly before the truth about the COVID-19 pandemic truly hit the market, Trump, his son Eric, and chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow were all hyping the stock market as if they were trying to sell Trump Steaks.
Of course, all of the suspicious stock trades being made by GOP Senators were occurring at a time when Senate Republicans were still hypocritically “pressing on” with their investigations into Hunter Biden for supposedly getting rich trading on his political connections. Hunter Biden broke no laws. Meanwhile, Congress is supposed to abide by the rules of the STOCK Act—as in the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.”
Making Insider Trading Great Again
In the age of Trump, Mar-a-Lago members (after they pay their $200,000 initiation fee) are frequently getting tips direct from the President ahead of potentially big market-moving decisions.
We don’t know (yet) how many Trump family members and close personal friends have participated in the suspicious trading activity that has made some people billions of dollars ahead of Trump’s military and trade war decisions, or his seemingly random, but market-moving tweets.
But we do know that POTUS himself doesn’t think of insider trading as that big a deal. Because what else was he doing while GOP Senators were banking their profits ahead of the COVID crash?
Oh yeah, pardoning the very face of American insider trading: Michael Milken.