Former Bakkt CEO and now US senator Kelly Loeffler has denied allegations of insider trading this week after being accused of offloading millions in stocks following a private briefing on the coronavirus outbreak.
According to disclosure documents, Loeffler first reported selling the stock, worth between $50,001 and $100,000, on January 24. The records reveal further sales up to $3,100,000. The markets crashed not long after.
She also made a couple of investments. She put $100,000 and $250,000 into Citrix, which offers teleworking software. Certain stocks, offering tools for those working from home—such as Zoom—have boomed on account of the coronavirus, including Citrix.
Insider trading allegations arose as the sale coincided with a private briefing on coronavirus—of which Loeffler was in attendance.
Loeffler took to Twitter, claiming she wasn’t aware of the dumping, as it was carried out on her behalf.
"This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio," Loeffler wrote, "Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband's knowledge or involvement."
As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, I was informed of these purchases and sales on February 16, 2020 — three weeks after they were made.
— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) March 20, 2020
Loeffler went on to maintain that per the periodic transaction report—a compulsory investment record required of some government employees—she was not informed of her portfolio change until three weeks after the fact.
The sales were initially filed as belonging to Loeffler's husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)—which owns Bakkt. The report was revised on March 12 to include Loeffler as a joint owner.
This isn't the first time the former Bakkt CE has faced scrutiny over a conflict of interests.
In early January, Loeffler was poised to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee—the very same responsible for oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Due to her husband's position, many took exception to the appointment.
"I have worked hard to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Senate's ethics rules and will continue to do so every day. I will recuse myself if needed on a case by case basis." Loeffler said, at the time, speaking to the Wall Street Journal.