WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Several senators are facing scrutiny for selling large amounts of stock before the market suffered its coronavirus crash.
It was silent outside the Washington, D.C. offices of Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler and North Carolina Senator Richard Burr on Friday just hours after reports surfaced that the lawmakers sold off large amounts of stock ahead of the coronavirus outbreak.
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) also sold stocks weeks ago.
“I can’t address anyone else’s situation but I can just tell you over the last five years I’ve had outside professionals that managed my personal affairs,” he said. “I comply with every rule in the Senate just like these other guys have.”
Sen. Loeffler (R-GA) released a statement Friday afternoon saying her investments are managed by a third party.
“I’m not involved,” the statement said.
The news is raising questions of whether the Senate members used knowledge from private briefings to protect themselves while their constituents remained vulnerable.
“I don’t have to explain what happened because I didn’t do anything,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said.
Sen. Inhofe – who has also come under criticism – says he had already divested his stocks when he became chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He says he wasn’t inside any closed-door briefings on the potential severity of the virus outbreak.
“Apparently there is a problem out there. Fortunately, I was not a part of the meeting so I was not involved,” he said.
Next door, knocks on Sen. Burr’s office door went unanswered. But a statement from the North Carolina Republican said, “I relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) also sold stock in January and early February.
When asked about the controversy, President Donald Trump expressed trust in the senators.
“They’re all honorable people,” he said.