Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) refused to say if members of Congress should be banned from trading stocks on Sunday amid ongoing criticism after she and other lawmakers traded millions of dollars in financial holdings during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a debate as part of Georgia’s runoff election cycle, the GOP senator was asked directly if she and her colleagues in Washington should be barred from financial trading while in office. Loeffler was one of several lawmakers from both parties that came under scrutiny for selling millions of dollars in financial holdings after Congress began receiving private briefings during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She didn’t answer, pivoting instead to say: “What’s at stake here in this election is the American dream. That’s what’s under attack.”
“When they attacked me for a lie, a left-wing media lie, conspired with the Democrats by, this is an attack on every single Georgian who gets up every day to work hard to provide a better life for their family, who wants to live the American dream,” Loeffler continued.
Loeffler and her GOP colleague, Sen. David Perdue (who has also faced criticism for his own, vast history of trading stocks while in office.) are both in fierce runoff elections against Democrat challengers. The outcome of the Jan. 5 race will determine which party is in control of the Senate.
Both the Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee ended an investigation into Loeffler’s trades earlier this year, saying they found no illegality. The senator also said she would divest from all individual stocks after the scandal.
“I’ve been completely exonerated,” she said Sunday. “Those are lies perpetrated by the left-wing media and Democrats to distract from their radical agenda.”
Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock attacked Loeffler’s financial history during the debate, accusing the lawmaker of using her power to make money.
“Kelly Loefflers’ out of touch,” Warnock said. “She’s thinking about people who are like her. And I’m okay with the fact that she wants to make money. I just think you shouldn’t use the people’s seat to enrich yourself. You ought to use the people’s seat to represent the people.”
Loeffler is one of the richest members of Congress and her husband founded the firm that owns the New York Stock Exchange. The couple is estimated to be worth more than $500 million, per The New York Times.