Sen. David Perdue invested in the pharmaceutical company after Pfizer warned the coronavirus pandemic ‘could adversely impact’ operations.
New data revealed Sen. David Perdue made investments after privileged briefings about the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report by the New York Times published on Wednesday, an analysis revealed Perdue may have used insider knowledge while making investment decisions. The report detailed several senators made trades in coronavirus-sensitive stocks shortly after they had attended a Senate briefing on Jan. 24.
Representatives for the senator claimed he did not attend the meeting. However, he bought and sold some of those stocks, including Pfizer, shortly after.
The Times reported Perdue purchased up to $260,000 worth of Pfizer stock between Feb. 26 – 28. On the final day of February, a joint press release with Sen. Kelly Loeffler issued to Georgia residents assured both had attended regular congressional briefings led by the Coronavirus Task Force. Loeffler was one of several to be investigated by the Justice Department in a now-closed inquiry.
“President [Donald] Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence are taking the coronavirus seriously and launched a Task Force to safeguard the health and safety of all Americans,” said Senator Perdue in the statement. “In Atlanta, we’re fortunate to have the best and brightest at the CDC working to prepare the country. My team and I will continue to stay in regular contact with the White House, Governor [Brian] Kemp’s team, and the CDC to ensure Georgians have all the information they need to stay safe.”
theGrio reported last month that although there is no evidence that Perdue made transactions based on information gained as a member of Congress, legal experts say his near-perfect timing deserved a second look.
“All of these questions about the motivations behind our members of Congress and their personal securities trading could be alleviated if Congress passed a law that limited investments,” said Donna Nagy, an Indiana University law professor. “Ordinary citizens should not have to question members of Congress about their investments.”
According to The Washington Free Beacon, Perdue was cleared in three separate investigations of his stock trades. The Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Senate Ethics Committee all decided the senator “engaged in no wrongdoing with his stock purchases and sell-offs earlier this year, which drew charges he profited from insider information about the pandemic.”
The Times report detailed Perdue purchased shares in DuPont, a company that manufactures personal protective equipment, on Jan. 24, the day of the senate briefing and more shares later. In late February and early March, he sold stock in Caesars, an entertainment company hurt by the pandemic. He also, however, purchased shares of Disney and Delta that seem to run counter to any suggestion that he was trading on insider information about the virus according to the news outlet.
Perdue is set to face off with Jon Ossoff in the Georgia 2020 U.S. Senate runoff race in January. His opponent has been vocal with critique of his financial actvity.
“Perhaps Senator Perdue would have been able to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic if you hadn’t been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading,” Ossoff remarked during an October debate according to theGrio.
“It’s not just that you’re a crook, senator,” Ossoff continued. “It’s that you’re attacking the health of the people that you represent. You did say COVID-19 was no deadlier than the flu. You did say there would be no significant uptick in cases. All the while, you were looking after your own assets and your own portfolio.”
The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 has been authorized for emergency use in the U.K. by The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
“The doses that we have for the U.K. are currently being packed (by) our colleagues at Pfizer’s facility in Belgium, ready for shipping very, very quickly,” BioNTech’s chief commercial officer, Sean Marett, said according to theGrio.
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