Dianne Feinstein, 3 more senators accused of dumping major holdings before stock market plunge

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is reportedly part of a small group of senators who sold off millions of dollars worth of personal stock days before the market crashed due to the coronavirus crisis.

The California Democrat and three of her Senate colleagues sold major holdings in February just before the stock market plunge, according to U.S. Senate disclosure records.

(Image: CNN screenshot)

Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, all sold off stock around the same time, though a spokesman said Feinstein wasn’t directly involved in the transactions.

The report about Feinstein, whose home city of San Francisco was just put under a “shelter-in-place” order along with the state of California, emerged as Burr has come under fire for dumping more than $1.6 million from his personal portfolio just ahead of the market crash.

Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, reportedly sold off the stocks in a series of more than 30 transactions according to ProPublica which first reported on the sale, prompting calls for his resignation.

“He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Thursday. “Maybe there is an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading.”

Feinstein and her husband reportedly sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in Allogene Therapeutics, a California biotech company. Those transactions occurred between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported.

Inhofe sold stock in PayPal, Apple and Brookfield Asset Management, valued at nearly $400,000 on one day, Jan. 27, disclosure records indicated. Other reports also surfaced about Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin who sold over $5 million of stock, though it was later reported that it was related to a family business.

Loeffler reportedly sold stock worth millions of dollars starting on Jan. 24, the same day the Georgia lawmaker tweeted about attending a private Senate briefing about the coronavirus. Along with her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, they sold stock they held in companies including Exxon Mobil, Ross Stores, and AutoZone.

Loeffler, who was appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after Sen. Johnny Isakson retired for health reasons, slammed the “ridiculous and baseless attack” against her, asserting that investment decisions are not made by her directly.

A spokesman for Feinstein also claimed she was not involved in the decision to sell the stocks.

“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” Tom Mentzer said in a statement. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”

Liberals quickly argued that the Republican lawmakers were guilty of insider trading while Feinstein’s actions were benign as the biotech shares were sold when they reached a low price and the value has risen since.

Others on Twitter had plenty to say on Feinstein’s role in the controversial reports, with some calling for the resignation of any and all, regardless of party affiliation.

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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