Senator Accused of Stock Trading After Coronavirus Briefing Says Democrats Are Putting Their Agenda Ahead of National Health

Senator Kelly Loefller has accused her Democratic colleagues of playing politics over the coronavirus relief bill, even as she faces continued criticism for allegedly dumping millions of dollars in stocks following a briefing over the impact of the pandemic.

The Georgia senator attacked Democrats Sunday for voting down a proposed stimulus package to address the financial turmoil wrought by the COVID-19 coronavirus. The vote fell 13 votes short of the 60 needed to pass, with Democrats arguing it favored bailing out companies over working Americans.

After the vote, Loeffler accused the Democrats of putting "their agenda before the health and well-being of the American people." She tweeted: "They voted against advancing relief to hardworking families, hospitals, small businesses and their employees. Now is a time for unity and swift action, not politics as usual."

In another Twitter post, Loeffler added, "While my colleagues on the other side of the aisle play games, @SenateGOP and I won't rest until the American people get relief. The Senate must step up. It is time to deliver."

It was revealed last week that Loeffler and her husband Richard Sprecher—the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange—sold millions of dollars in stocks following a Senate briefing on January 24. At the time, President Donald Trump and his allies were downplaying the severity of the outbreak.

Loeffler and her husband are accused of selling the stocks before the financial market plunged as the true scale of the coronavirus threat became apparent. The couple sold stocks worth between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000 in the period from January 24 through February 14.

Loeffler and Sprecher have argued that the trades were made without their knowledge by third-party investment managers. Speaking in the Senate on Sunday, Loeffler alluded to the controversy, saying, "No amount of false, politicized allegations against me or my family will distract me."

The senator has faced criticism from members of both parties. Her challenger for the Georgia seat—Representative Doug Collins—tweeted last week, "People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their retirements, and even their lives and Kelly Loeffler is profiting off their pain? I'm sickened just thinking about it."

Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, called on Loeffler to resign, arguing it was "stomach-churning that the first thoughts these Senators had to a dire & classified #COVID briefing was how to profit off this crisis. They didn't mobilize to help families, or prep response. They dumped stock."

Kelly loeffler, coronavirus, stock trading, democrats, senate
Senator Kelly Loeffler arrives for the Republican policy luncheon at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. on March 19, 2020. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty