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BREAKING: Senator Perdue Traded Stocks in Defense Contractor As He Helped Direct Funding Toward Its Priorities

Perdue Bought Stock In Defense Contractor For The First Time Right Before Taking Over Subcommittee That Oversees Its Priorities – Then Sold His Shares At A Profit After Helping Steer Taxpayer Funding Toward The Company

“Not The First Time The Senator, One Of The Most Active Stock Traders In Congress And One Of Its Wealthiest Members, Has Engaged In Conspicuously Timed Trading”

A bombshell new report from The Daily Beast reveals that Senator David Perdue once again “engaged in conspicuously timed trading,” this time involving a defense contractor in which he invested for the first time before assuming the role of chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee with jurisdiction over the company’s federal priorities. After he was “hand-picked” to work on the annual defense authorization bill, which steered lucrative federal funding to projects involving the same company, Perdue dumped his shares at a profit.

“Senator Perdue appears to have used his position to benefit himself and the company he invested in – that’s corruption, plain and simple,” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla. “Perdue has always been out for himself and his special interest allies instead of the Georgians he was elected to represent.”

The Daily Beast: Sen. Perdue Helped Defense Contractor—and Sold Off Its Stock
By Sam Brodey

Key Points:

  • Right before he was put in charge of a powerful Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the U.S. Navy, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) began buying up stock in a company that made submarine parts. And once he began work on a bill that ultimately directed additional Navy funding for one of the firm’s specialized products, Perdue sold off the stock, earning him tens of thousands of dollars in profits.
  • In January 2019, Perdue was named as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower.
  • But in the month before he took over the job, Perdue did something unusual: he acquired up to $190,000 worth of stock in BWX Technologies, a company he had never invested in before. The Virginia-based firm had lucrative contracts with the U.S. Navy to develop high-tech components for its fleet of nuclear submarines—and it was looking to expand that business when lawmakers took on the 2019 version of the sweeping annual legislation that sets funding benchmarks for the U.S. military, called the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • Perdue would have a key role in shaping the NDAA as Seapower chairman, and later as one of the few lawmakers hand-picked by party leadership to hammer out the final version of the bill between the House and Senate. By the time the bill passed the Senate in June, Perdue touted several wins—one of which was securing $4.7 billion for Virginia-class submarines. As it happens, BWX is one of two to three vendors with Pentagon contracts to design and make key parts for Virginia-class submarines, including nuclear reactors that power them and the systems that launch missiles from the submarines.
  • From February to July, as he was shaping the defense bill and working for that submarine funding, Perdue reported selling off all his shares of BWX—reaping a healthy profit in the process. The senator’s final financial disclosure form for the year 2019 reported earnings of $15,000 to $50,000 in his trading of BWX.
  • Scott Amey, the general counsel of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan good-government advocacy group, said it’s concerning that a lawmaker like Perdue would invest in a defense stock out of the thousands of stocks available, given his specific responsibilities on the Armed Services Committee.
  • “Members have inside information about our national security and defense spending, and personally benefiting from that information should be banned,” Amey said.
  • Perdue’s investment in BWX is not the first time the senator, one of the most active stock traders in Congress and one of its wealthiest members, has engaged in conspicuously timed trading.
  • In 2017, the Georgia Republican purchased stakes in an Atlanta-based prepaid debit card provider called FirstData weeks after he pushed to overturn federal regulations affecting the sector, The Daily Beast reported in September. Through 2019, Perdue reported buying and selling shares in FirstData around key moments affecting the company’s value. His office denied that he acted improperly, calling any allegations to that effect “categorically false.”
  • “A lawmaker can hold on to stock or hold on to the public’s trust,” said CLC’s Payne, “but it is hard to do both.”

Read the full story here.

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