Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler caught a lot of flak last week for their sales of stock made during a time when the Wuhan virus threat was front and center of media attention. Contrary to popular belief, these two weren’t the only elected officials to buy and sell stocks at sensitive moments during this crisis.
According to a POLITICO report, that several members of Congress “had traded shares at times or in industries that bore a relationship to the coronavirus threat.”
Several of the lawmakers who sold assets in the weeks approaching the market crash were California Congresswoman Susan Davis, who sold thousands of dollars of stock in Alaska Air and Royal Caribbean cruises.
A senior aide to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell made a mid-January purchase of Moderna, Inc., a biotechnology company that had announced earlier that month it would begin working on a coronavirus vaccine. Additionally, an aide to Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sold stocks in companies including Delta Airlines in late January. Then the aide proceeded to buy stock in Clorox, Inc., which makes bleach and sanitary wipes.
The trades demonstrate the privileged information members of Congress enjoy when it comes to stock trading.
“The reality is that if you work on the Hill, or you work in government, you have access to information that the public doesn’t have or, if they have it, they can’t always see the signal through the noise,” declared Meredith McGehee, executive director of the watchdog group Issue One. “If you’re on the HELP Committee, you’re going to grasp threats much faster than the general public. You see things much more clearly.”
The North Carolina Republican is one of several senators, including Loeffler, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, and Georgia Senator David Perdue, who sold off stock at the end of January and the start of February as the Senate was holding more Wuhan virus briefings.
POLITICO noted the following:
It’s illegal for lawmakers and aides to trade stocks based on private information. But they are allowed to buy and sell shares based on public information they absorb on Capitol Hill so long as they disclose those trades within 30 days. That permissive approach to buying and selling stocks — the executive branch has much stricter rules — has drawn criticism from watchdogs who argue the freedom to trade isn’t as important as the need for the public to trust Congress to act only on its behalf.
Other members of Congress are expected to make money off companies developing ways to combat the disease. West Virginia congressman Rob Wittman bought between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in the pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc., on February 27, 2020 the day the company issued a statement saying it had donated one of its antiviral drugs to China as an experimental option for combatting the Wuhan virus and that it was looking into a research collaboration on potential options for treatment.
Wittman’s office declared he “does not have any involvement in investment decisions for his financial portfolio” and mentioned how AbbVie shares have lost value ever since. The office then added that Wittman’s original AbbVie purchase was for $1,218.
NO MURDER CHARGES: Fired Detective Brett Hankinson Receives Indictment for Wanton Endangerment, No Officers are Charged for the Death of Breonna Taylor
On September 23, 2020, Jefferson County Judge Annie O’Connell announced that fired detective Brett Hankinson will be indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for his actions on the night of Breonna Taylor’s death.
Hankison had previously admitted to shooting blindly. Some of those shots were fired into neighboring apartments not into Breonna Taylor’s where her boyfriend had opened fire onto police.
Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, the other two officers involved in a serving a search warrant on the night that Taylor was killed, did not receive any charges.
The city of Louisville was placed under a state of emergency on September 22, when city officials shutdown a significant portion of the city perimeter to traffic. The majority of administrative building and other businesses were boarded up prior to the decision. Louisville has been rocked by riots related to Taylor’s death in March. These riots have been occurring for over 100 days and have resulted in a number of deaths and heated confrontations with law enforcement.
Starting on the night of September 23, there will be a 72-hour curfew in Louisville. The curfew will not apply to people partaking in essential travel, which includes work-related purposes or medical attention. Kentucky National Guard members will be deployed to the city for the purpose of maintaining public order.
Given the indictment doesn’t match the BLM demands of murder charges for all officers involved, such precautionary measures are necessary to quell potential unrest coming from the Left. Since May, radical leftists have taken advantage of controversial police actions to tear up property and cause mayhem across the country. An incident like Taylor’s death is most assuredly being politicized by the Left and will likely fuel further disturbances across the nation.
Conservatives and nationalists should make it a point to promote healthy debate, while establishing a baseline of public security, to ensure that the country does not spiral further out of control in such times of instability.
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