Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the junior Republican from Georgia who is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream WNBA team, is facing increased scrutiny following the release of new financial disclosure forms that show shares in retail chains were sold on her behalf while Congress was being briefed on the coronavirus. At the same time, Loeffler’s portfolio also invested in a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments.
The largest transactions involve $18.7 million in sales from three separate deals dated between Feb. 26 and March 11, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. Last month, it was revealed Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey C. Sprecher, who is chairman of the New York State Exchange, sold off seven figures’ worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks following a private all-senators meeting on the coronavirus that was held in late January — well before before the virus halted everyday life for the majority of Americans.
While the White House didn’t announce formal social separation guidelines to combat the coronavirus until March 16, Loeffler and her husband had already sold shares in retail giants such as Lululemon and TJ Maxx. Both chains have temporarily closed their stores due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Around the same time, the couple bought more than $200,000 worth of stock in chemical company DuPont de Nemours, which is a supplier of personal protective gear. Overall, the couple ended up with more paper losses on their purchases than they saved by selling shares, the Wall Street Journal reports.
When reached for comment by Outsports, a spokesperson from Loeffler’s senate office said the accusations against her are baseless.
“Sen. Loeffler filed another Periodic Transaction Report (PTR) and the facts are still the same,” the statement reads. “These transactions are consistent with historical portfolio activity and include a balanced mix of buys and sells. Her stock portfolio is managed independently by third-party advisors and she is notified, as indicated on the report, after transactions occur. Sen. Loeffler continues to operate with integrity and transparency – following both the spirit and the letter of the law. While some will continue to make baseless accusations devoid of facts, Senator Loeffler will continue working to keep Americans safe and provide much-needed relief to Georgia families and businesses impacted by COVID-19.”
In a separate statement to the AJC, Loeffler’s campaign said an investment company manages the couple’s vast portfolio. “Sen. Loeffler came to Washington on a promise to be a different kind of elected official,” spokesperson Kerry Romm said. “She holds herself to high standards of ethics and transparency, including acting in accordance with both the letter and spirit of the law, which she has done at every step of her time in the Senate and in her lengthy career in financial services.”
Last week, after the allegations had first surfaced, Loeffler told Fox Business she “had no involvement” in the questionable trades.
A spokesperson for the Dream told Outsports the team is not commenting on Loeffler’s stock trades.
Several U.S. senators are being investigated for questionable stock transactions made at the onset of the coronavirus’ spread, according to CNN.
Loeffler and her husband also exercised options to buy shares in the company and sold them for about $10.9 million, the WSJ says. 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 to include comment from Sen. Loeffler’s office.