Scandal-plagued GOP senator says she'll sell all her stocks after media scrutiny

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Sen. Kelly Loeffler insists she is innocent of any wrongdoing.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) announced on Wednesday that she will divest from all her individual stocks by the end of the week to avoid further scrutiny from the media and Democrats.

The announcement came nearly three weeks after media reports revealed she and her husband had made numerous beneficial stock trades not long after Loeffler received information in congressional briefings on the looming coronavirus crisis that was not yet public.

"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 wrote in a Wednesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

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Loeffler's husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange.

Loeffler's frustration with media coverage of the scandal was one motivating factor for the move, she said.

"In its hunger to place blame, the media fixated on a fantasy of improper congressional trading, stemming from a Jan. 24 briefing I and other Senators attended with health officials," Loeffler wrote. She added that the "issue isn't worth the distraction" and complained that her investment accounts were "being used as weapons for an assault on my character."

Earlier this week, Loeffler similarly complained of "hurtful" media headlines.

Following the January briefing Loeffler mentioned in her op-ed, she sold hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of stock. Around the same time, her husband bought more than $400,000 worth of stock a company that makes protective equipment used by health care professionals on the front lines of the pandemic response.

Throughout the scandal, Loeffler has maintained her innocence.

"I have never used any confidential information I received while performing my Senate duties as a means of making a private profit," Loeffler wrote in the Journal. "Nor has anyone in my family."

Loeffler, previously a multimillionaire GOP donor, was appointed to a U.S. Senate seat following Sen. Johnny Isakson's retirement in December.

She is running to keep the seat in a special election this fall, and faces both Republican and Democratic opponents.

On the right, Loeffler is being challenged by Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, who attacked her recently over the stock-trading scandal.

"This is essentially a guilty plea," Dan McLagan, Collins' campaign spokesperson, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Loeffler's decision to sell off her stocks. "Georgians who just saw their retirement plans crater while she profited are not going to agree to the plea deal."

Collins led Loeffler in a poll of likely voters conducted at the end of March.

Loeffler will also face off with Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Matt Lieberman in November.

There is no primary election in this race. If none of the candidates receives more than 50% of the vote in the all-party voting in November, there will be a runoff election in January 2021 between the top two candidates.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.