NEW: SEC Issues “Sharp Warning” on Insider Trading After Senator Loeffler and Husband’s Shady Stock Sales

Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “issued a sharp warning against trading on non-public information related to the coronavirus pandemic days after news broke that unelected “political mega-donor” Senator Kelly Loeffler and her husband, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, dumped millions in stocks and purchased shares in a teleworking software company after a private January Senate briefing on the crisis.

Despite offloading millions in stocks as the coronavirus pandemic pummeled the market, Senator Loeffler publicly downplayed the economic effects of the public health crisis, claiming that “[t]he consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing.”

The “widespread criticism and calls for investigations” have come in from across the country, from the New York Times and Savannah Morning News editorial boards demanding an ethics investigation to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution putting their damning report on the front-page, and there’s been wall-to-wall TV coverage like this across Georgia about how Loeffler’s stock transactions “are raising questions whether [she was] getting even richer with early knowledge of the virus’s threat.” Two independent ethics watchdog groups have already filed complaints and demanded investigations from the SEC, Department of Justice, and Senate Ethics Committee, creating even more liabilities for the unelected senator already under scrutiny for her “super-swampy” “minefield” of ethical issues.

“Senator Loeffler publicly downplayed the crisis hurting Georgia families, but she and her husband sold off millions in stock as markets plummeted,” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla. “As calls grow for investigations into Senator Loeffler’s shady trades, this is one dilemma she won’t be able to buy her way out of.”

CNBC: SEC warns on coronavirus insider trading after stock sales by Sen. Loeffler and NYSE chief husband raise eyebrows

By Dan Mangan 

March 23, 2020

Key Points:

  • “In these dynamic circumstances, corporate insiders are regularly learning new material nonpublic information that may hold an even greater value than under normal circumstances,” the directors, Stephanie Avakian and Steven Pelkin said.
  • The SEC declined to comment when asked if the new statement was spurred by last week’s news about recent trading by Sprecher and Loeffler, and whether the SEC is investigating those trades.
  • Financial disclosure forms filed recently by Loeffler reveals that accounts owned by the couple had almost 30 trades in stocks since Jan. 24, the day that she and other senators were briefed about the coronavirus by Trump administration officials. The sales began on the day of that briefing.
  • Over the next three weeks, Loeffler and Sprecher sold shares worth $1.25 million to $3.1 million, according to disclosure records.
  • But on Feb. 14, accounts owned by Loeffler and Sprecher bought stock in Citrix, which provides teleworking software, and in Oracle, the technology company.
  • Many Americans have been working remotely from home as companies closed or reduced staff at their physical offices due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The group Common Cause said Friday it had filed complaints with the SEC, Justice Department and Senate Ethics Committee “calling for immediate investigations” of Loeffler, Burr, Feinstein and Inhofe “for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws.”
  • The STOCK Act bars members of Congress from using inside information from their official positions for private gain.

Read the full story here.


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