In brief

  • A poll suggests that US senator Kelly Loeffler is seeing flagging approval.
  • Loeffler is the former CEO of crypto firm Bakkt.
  • She was accused of insider trading soon after being appointed to the US Senate.

United States senator Kelly Loeffler, who is the former CEO of digital wallet and crypto futures firm Bakkt, is facing dwindling support in her new role.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution disclosed on Friday the results of an internal poll conducted by the polling firm, Cygnal, on behalf of the Georgia House GOP Caucus. The results showed an approval rating of just 20% for Loeffler, and a 47% disapproval rating.

Loeffler has come under fire recently due to accusations of insider trading, since she allegedly bought and sold a large amount of stock in January following a private briefing on the impending coronavirus pandemic—just before the markets tanked. Loeffler had also invested in a company that makes face masks.

Her approval rating may also be impacted by Georgia Republicans’ response to the pandemic itself. Polling was conducted between April 25-27, right around the time the state began to reopen businesses—less than a month after a late-coming shelter-in-place order.

Loeffler must win back voters ahead of a local election this November. According to the report, the polling suggests that Loeffler has swayed just 11% of voters, while US representative Doug Collins has 29% of voters on his side. A pair of Democrats running for the seat, Matt Lieberman and Raphael Warnock, have similar levels of support to Loeffler in the poll.

Loeffler denied the insider trading accusations, claiming that the transactions were made on her behalf and that she was not notified until weeks later. However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution separately highlighted the liquidation of $18.7 million in Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) stock options between February 26 and March 11.

Before Bakkt, Loeffler was an executive at the Intercontinental Exchange, and her husband Jeff Sprecher is the company’s CEO. ICE owns the New York Stock Exchange—and Bakkt too. 

Members of Congress and their families are prohibited from using privileged, internal information for insider trading purposes thanks to The STOCK Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2012.

In early April, Loeffler announced that she would liquidate all of her family’s individual investments and instead invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to avoid the further appearance of impropriety.

Bakkt is the company behind the first regulated Bitcoin futures market, which launched under Loeffler in 2019. It will soon offer a wallet service that holds digital assets such as crypto, air-miles and in-game currency. In early March, Bakkt announced that it had raised $300 million in a Series B funding round.

If Bakkt’s new services prove successful, Loeffler may have mistimed her own exit.