Sen. Kelly Loeffler is cashing out to prove that she wasn’t cashing in.
The Georgia Republican announced Wednesday that she and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, are liquidating their individual stock holdings to combat allegations of illegal insider trading.
Loeffler is one of a handful of US Senators who have been criticized for massive stock sales following a closed-door senate briefing on the spread of COVID-19 on Jan. 24, before stocks began their downward spiral as businesses were forced to shutter.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Loeffler defended herself yet again, including with claims that she didn’t direct the selling because her family’s stock portfolio was managed at the time by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Sepio Capital and Wells Fargo.
She blamed a media “fixated on a fantasy of improper congressional trading” and hinted at political motivations as well. Loeffler, who took office in January after Sen. Johnny Isakson resigned for health reasons, faces a May 19 primary for her Senate seat.
The Jan. 24 Senate briefing included “no material or nonpublic information,” Loeffler said. “All we did was meet public-health leaders and ask them questions about the emerging virus.”
“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,” Loeffler said. “I will report these exiting transactions in the periodic transaction report I file later this month.”
Of course, Loeffler is selling at a time when markets have bounced back on signs that the economy may soon reopen. Shares of Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of NYSE at which Sprecher serves as CEO, closed on Tuesday at $82.30.
According to SEC filings, the couple dumped $18.8 million shares of ICE in late February and mid-March, including $13.3 million worth of ICE stock at $86.20 on March 11.
By March 23rd, shares in ICE were being moved for $66.85 a share, saving the couple from massive losses.
“I’m not doing this because I have to. I’ve done everything the right way and in compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations,” Loeffler said. “Senate ethics rules and US law. I’m doing it because the issue isn’t worth the distraction.”