GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler Denies Any Insider Stock Selloffs Amid Grilling From Fox News' Tucker Carlson

Kelly Loeffler
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) does a television interview after a Senate GOP lunch meeting in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Lawmaker and Trump administration officials are in negotiations about the phase 3 coronavirus stimulus bill, which leaders say they hope to have passed by Monday. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/Getty

Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler insisted she had nothing to do with February stock trades-- which included the selling of several that were "hammered" in the stock market due to coronavirus concerns--despite being grilled by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on the topic Friday.

During an interview segment on his program, Carlson repeatedly pressed Loeffler to explain how her selling of $3.1 million in stocks just weeks ahead of the market crash on March 9 did not impede upon the Stock Act, which prohibits lawmakers from using non-public information in stock trades. Loeffler stands alongside at least three other U.S. senators accused of conducting dozens of transactions just as they received reports of how bad the economy was about to get amid the COVID-19 spread.

Loeffler repeatedly stated she has Senate advisers and stock portfolio managers who conduct all of her transactions before telling her anything. But Carlson, and many fellow lawmakers, have expressed skepticism in Loeffler claiming she had no prior knowledge of the lucrative trades.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler on Tucker Carlson:

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Despite having received the economic coronavirus reports on February 16, Loeffler produced a March 10 video that touted President Donald Trump and the strength of the economy -- something Carlson asked whether she should have done in retrospect.

"I come from the private sector. I have 20 years experience in financial services," Loeffler responded to Carlson's questions over whether she somehow allegedly broke the rules of the Stock Act. "I decided that I was going to maintain the same posture that I had in the financial services industry, which was to have a third-party person that was, and Senate advisers, who were fully charged and able to make these transactions on my own, so I did not have to be involved in any of the decision-making around these financial transactions, and that worked very well in the private sector and it kept us from having to have concerns around insider trading."

Carlson asked how 27 of 29 stocks of the senator were crushed by the coronavirus-caused economic collapse, but she managed to get rid of them just in time. "Some of them, not all, were stocks that really got hammered. I'm not accusing you of anything, but again, who specifically made that decision for you and on what basis do you think?" the Fox News host asked.

"So Tucker that would be financial advisers who are charged with conducting trades in our portfolios which we don't have a say over. I think the most important thing is that I am informed only after those trades are made I have nothing in terms of a say in what buys or sells are executed, what that timing is, and I'm only advised after it happens, almost concurrent with the public reporting we do here," Loeffler said.

The exchange continued, with Carlson noting that North Carolina GOP Senator Richard Burr, head of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, unloaded between $628,000 and $1.72 million in holdings on February 13 in 33 separate transactions, as ProPublica recently reported.

"This situation has dramatically changed in the space of three months, I think none of us could have predicted where we'd be today and I think that's why it's important I'm not involved in stock transactions I don't want to have to explain my actions three months ago that I don't need to take," Loeffler said, defending herself.

Carlson pressed, "With respect, this was not three months ago, this was a month ago, when you received this sheet. I mean, you can read a balance sheet obviously, it's what did all of your life until recently, did you think maybe it portends something ominous for the economy - did that thought cross your mind?"

"Tucker, this is the kind of normal course for managing portfolios. Some months you have buys and sells. I trust the professionals who manage my portfolio. I don't get involved there. I don't have a say, I don't want to have a say. I want to focus on my work for Georgians. We should be talking about coronavirus right now," Loeffler she also urged.

On March 10, Loeffler released a video portraying a glowing view of the economy under Trump: "The good news is the consumer is strong, the economy is strong, jobs are growing, our president has done a fantastic job making sure we're in the best position to manage through this situation."

Loeffler and Burr are joined by Senators Jim Inhofe and Dianne Feinstein in being accused of selling off stocks using insider knowledge.

tucker carlson kelly loeffler stocks
Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler insisted she had nothing to do with February stock trades which included the selling of several which were "hammered" by coronavirus briefings not yet publicly revealed - but Fox News host Tucker Carlson grilled her on the topic Friday. Screenshot: Fox News