The Daily Beast reports Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the junior Republican from Georgia who is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream WNBA team, may have broken the law by taking personal advantage of information revealed to U.S. senators in a private January briefing.
The report says Loeffler sold off seven figures’ worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks after this all-senators meeting on the coronavirus that has erased all the gains the financial markets have seen since President Trump was elected. Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey C. Sprecher, who is chairman of the New York State Exchange, made 29 transactions through mid-February, all but two of which were sales. One of Loeffler’s two purchases was stock in a technology company that creates telecommuting software.
On the same day of the initial meeting, Loeffler tweeted assured her constituents the pandemic was under control.
Appreciate today’s briefing from the President’s top health officials on the novel coronavirus outbreak. These men and women are working around the clock to keep our country safe and healthy. #gapol https://t.co/5866TrrEFc— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) January 25, 2020
Early Friday morning, Loeffler responded to the Daily Beast’s reporting, vehemently disputing its validity. “This is a ridiculous and baseless attack,” she tweeted. “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 is one of four U.S. senators who sold major stock holdings following the briefing on Jan. 24. Sen. Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, has also come under scrutiny for warning a politically connected business group in his home state in late February about the danger of the impending coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., while downplaying the threat publicly, according to a recording obtained by NPR.
With a reported net worth of $500 million, Loeffler is the wealthiest member of Congress. She joined the Dream’s ownership in 2011.
Last December, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler to replace the retiring Johnny Isakson. Her conservative views stand in stark contrast to other figures in the WNBA, arguably the most progressive professional sports league in the country.
This post has been updated. The coronavirus U.S. senators meeting was not classified. A previous version said otherwise.