Loeffler says she will liquidate investments in individual companies after stock-related controversy

Vice President Mike Pence attends the ceremonial swearing in of U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C.(Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., said Wednesday she is liquidating her family’s holdings in stocks in individual companies and moving those investments into exchange-traded funds and mutual funds.

Loeffler’s announcement came in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday in which she also defended herself against allegations that she bought and sold millions of dollars in stocks shortly after a Jan. 24 closed-door briefing she and other senators attended on the emerging coronavirus pandemic.

Similar insider trading accusations have dogged Georgia’s other Republican U.S. senator, David Perdue, although he did not attend the briefing. Both have denied wrongdoing and stated their investments are handled by third-party advisors without their input.

Loeffler is married to Jeff Sprecher, CEO of InterContinental Exchange Inc.

In the op-ed, Loeffler wrote that she made the decision to liquidate her stock portfolio to put an end to the distractions resulting from “improper accusations” leveled by the news media and political opponents.

“I’m not doing this because I have to,” she wrote. “I’ve done everything the right way and in compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, Senate ethics rules and U.S. law. I’m doing it because the issue isn’t worth the distraction.”

Appointed to the Senate by Gov. Brian Kemp in December to succeed retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson, Loeffler is running for election to the remainder of Isakson’s full term in a crowded “free-for-all” race. Rather than the usual party primaries that winnow candidates from the field, all 21 candidates who signed up during the qualifying period last month will be on the ballot in November.

Besides Loeffler, the other prominent Republican candidate in the race is U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville. Democrats in the contest include the Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church; Ed Tarver, a former U.S. attorney and state senator from Augusta; and Matt Lieberman, son of former U.S. senator and 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman.

Democrats fired back at Loeffler on Wednesday, arguing her decision to stop investing in stocks in individual companies doesn’t go far enough.

Alex Floyd, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia, called on Loeffler instead to move her assets into a blind trust.

“This latest attempt by unelected Senator Loeffler to distract from her stock trading scandal still leaves many questions unanswered,” Floyd said. “Rather than doing damage control, Senator Loeffler should commit to a full Senate Ethics Committee Investigation and start being honest with Georgians”

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