Sen. David Perdue bought stock in a company that produces protective medical equipment the same day senators received a classified briefing on the coronavirus

David Perdue

  • Sen. David Perdue of Georgia bought stock in a company that produces personal protective equipment (PPE) the same day the Senate received a classified briefing on the spread of the novel coronavirus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
  • Perdue's financial portfolio disclosure form lists 112 transactions, 82 of which were made on March 3. Seventy-six were stock purchases of as much as $1.8 million, and there were 34 stock sales of as much as $825,000.
  • Overall trading activity was significantly higher in March as volatility rocked markets in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Perdue isn't the first US lawmaker to face scrutiny over financial activity that took place around the time senators were being privately briefed on the spread of the disease.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia bought stock in DuPont de Nemours, a chemical company that produces personal protective equipment (PPE), on the same day the Senate received a classified briefing on the spread of the novel coronavirus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday.

The revelation came from Perdue's financial portfolio, which he filed on Sunday and which includes 110 items related to stock trades.Advertisement

According to The Journal-Constitution, Perdue engaged in heavy trading in March, when markets plunged and the virus gained a stronger foothold in the US.

Perdue's disclosure form lists 112 transactions, 82 of which were made on March 3. Seventy-six were stock purchases of as much as $1.8 million. The report also documents 34 stock sales worth as much as $825,000. The Journal-Constitution reported that Perdue's portfolio activity from March onward was three times busier than it was in the last 13-month period before the coronavirus hit the United States.

Overall trading activity was significantly higher in March as the market was rocked by volatility brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, both in the US and in other countries like China, Italy, and Iran.
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Perdue's spokeswoman, Cherie Gillian, told The Journal-Constitution that "since coming to the US Senate in 2015, Sen. Perdue has always had an outside adviser managing his personal finances, and he is not involved in day-to-day decisions. For the past five years, the senator has fully complied with federal law and all Senate ethics requirements."

Perdue isn't the first lawmaker to face questions about his trading activity in the wake of the outbreak. His counterpart in Georgia, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, sold off shares following the closed-door briefing on January 24. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina also unloaded stocks in the weeks after the briefing. Burr, in particular, has faced heightened scrutiny because of his trades and his position as chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee. The panel has access to the federal government's most classified and sensitive information, and according to Reuters, Burr's committee was getting daily briefings on the threat of the coronavirus around the time he dumped his stock.Advertisement

ProPublica published a bombshell report last month detailing how Burr dumped as much as $1.72 million in stocks days after reassuring the public that the Trump administration was well prepared to handle the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In a February 7 op-ed for Fox News, Burr - along with Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee - acknowledged that "Americans are rightfully concerned about the coronavirus" at a time when the number of cases in China was still skyrocketing.

The senators added, however, that, "Thankfully, the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus, in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress, and the Trump Administration."Advertisement

According to Burr's financial disclosure form, he started dumping stock on February 13, six days after writing that op-ed.

"I relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision regarding the sale of stocks on February 13," Burr said in a statement following the reporting.

He added: "Specifically, I closely followed CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time. Understanding the assumption many could make in hindsight, however, I spoke this morning with the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and asked him to open a complete review of the matter with full transparency."Advertisement

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