Georgia’s new GOP senator and the former chief executive officer of Bitcoin derivatives exchange Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler, is under fire following reports that she sold stocks worth millions of dollars after attending a classified senate briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in January.
Loeffler is refuting claims that she used her position to protect her financial interests. In an interview on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, Loeffler defended the stocks sales and denied using the information from the private meeting for personal profit.
Since assuming public office, Loeffler says she has assigned financial advisors to make decisions and trades on her portfolio to avoid any conflict of interest.
“I decided that I was going to maintain the same posture that I had in the financial services industry which was to have a third-party person – a set of advisors – that were fully charged and able to make these transactions on my own so that I did not have to be involved in any of the decision-making around these financial transactions. That worked very well in the private sector.
It kept us from having to have concerns around insider trading. And that’s what I maintained in the Senate and that has allowed me to be able to work hard for the American people and focus on the things that I came here to Washington to do.”
Between late January and mid-February, Loeffler reportedly sold between $1.3 million and $3.1 million worth of stock she co-owned with husband Jeff Sprecher, the chief executive officer of Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The stocks saw significant losses plummeting by an average of 32% from their closing price at the time Loeffler and her husband sold them.
Loeffler also allegedly bought stocks in technology companies, including shares in teleconferencing solutions firm Citrix, one of the few stocks that gained value amid massive sell-offs driven by fear of the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is kind of the normal course for managing portfolios. Some months you have buys and sells; some months you have buys. Some months you have sells. I trust the professionals that manage our portfolio.”
Amid the allegations, Loeffler says the more important issue that needs to be addressed right now is the current health crisis.
“I don’t get involved there. I don’t have a say. I don’t want to have a say. I want to focus on my work for Georgians. We should be talking about coronavirus right now.”
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