Thursday, April 9, 2020

Taking Stock Of The Situation

Georgia GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler is now fighting for her political life as her insider trading scandal involving buying of COVID-19 medical stocks and selling of just about everything else following a classified Senate briefing in January has become a weapon for her Republican opponent in November as well as her Democratic one.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) announced Wednesday that she is liquidating her stock portfolio and converting the holdings to general exchange-traded and mutual funds amid persistent allegations that she traded stocks based on privileged information about the coronavirus outbreak.  
“Although Senate ethics rules don’t require it, my husband and I are liquidating our holdings in managed accounts and moving into exchange-traded funds and mutual funds. I will report these exiting transactions in the periodic transaction report I file later this month,” she wrote. 
Loeffler, one of the richest members of Congress, made her announcement in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday afternoon, a day after her Republican opponent, Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), released an internal poll showing him with a large lead.  
The Battleground Connect survey showed Collins with 36 percent support, followed by Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock with 16 percent and Loeffler with 13 percent.
Collins, Loeffler and Warnock will all face each other in a special election in November. Unless someone wins a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to a runoff election in January. 
Collins has attacked Loeffler relentlessly in recent weeks over stock transactions she and her husband made after senators, including Loeffler, received a briefing from health officials on Capitol Hill Jan. 24.  
Loeffler and her spouse, Jeffrey Sprecher, the CEO of Intercontinental Exchange and the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, made more than 20 stock transactions totaling millions of dollars after the briefing. 
“People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their retirements, and even their lives and Kelly Loeffler is profiting off their pain?” Collins tweeted shortly after the transactions were revealed. “I’m just sickened thinking about it.”  
Loeffler has always maintained that the stock purchases and sales were made by third-party investment managers and she was only informed after the fact. 
“As longtime executives at a Fortune 500 financial-services firm, my husband and I put this arrangement in place to insulate ourselves and our colleagues from these sorts of unfounded accusations,” Loeffler, 49, a former investment relations professional who is worth an estimated $500 million, wrote in Wednesday’s op-ed.

The fact is Loeffler is looking for the kind of loopholes that only a US senator worth a half-billion can afford, and in an era where the ranks of the unemployed are rapidly reaching 20% or more, not even Georgia is going to reelect her.  Granted, it means she'll probably be replaced by Doug Collins, who is a real Trumpian asshole, but I'm guessing Collins is going to have his own problems being so heavily tied to Trump.

November seems like a decade from now, but we have to hang in there.

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