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Ethics Committee Drops Investigation of Republican Senator’s Controversial Stock Trades

The Senate Ethics Committee has dismissed its probe into whether Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) violated federal insider trading laws or chamber rules just ahead of the pandemic-related economic downturn, the panel said Tuesday.

The development comes weeks after the DOJ reportedly closed investigations of multiple senators, but not the probe of Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

As previously reported by Law&Crime, Loeffler and her husband Jeff Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, purchased stock in DuPont de Nemours, a chemical corporation that is also a major supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by first responders and medical practitioners on four separate occasions from late-February until early March.

During that same time period, Loeffler—the richest person serving in either chamber of the U.S. legislature with an estimated net worth of approximately $500 million—and Sprecher also sold nearly $20 million worth of stock in Sprecher’s own company. The company employed Loeffler as a high level executive before she was appointed to the Senate by Gov. Brian Kemp (R).

“The fake news media takes another loss. Exonerated. Again,” Loeffler tweeted following the panel’s decision.

The Ethics Committee’s chief counsel and staff director Deborah Sue Mayer said the committee looked into Loeffler and Sprecher’s transactions and found nothing remiss.

“Based on all the information before it, the Committee did not find evidence that your actions violated federal law, Senate Rules or standards of conduct,” Mayer wrote in the letter announcing the closing of the investigation.. “Accordingly, consistent with its precedent, the Committee has dismissed the matter.”

Loeffler’s campaign had previously defended the senator, saying that she and her husband use an investment firm to manage their stock portfolio. According to a campaign spokesperson, the couple employ financial advisers who execute trades in their accounts and neither was involved in day-to-day trading decisions.

“The Senate Ethics Committee has come to the exact same conclusion as the U.S. Department of Justice: Senator Loeffler did absolutely nothing wrong and has been completely exonerated,” a Loeffler spokesperson said Tuesday. “Despite the obvious attempts by the media, political opportunists and liberal groups like CREW and Common Cause to distort reality, facts still matter and the truth is prevailing.”

The DOJ dropped similar insider trading probes into Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla). As for Sen. Richard Burr? That investgation remains active. The FBI last month obtained a warrant to seize the senators phone as part of an ongoing investigation.

[image via  Bloomberg News screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.