In brief

  • Loeffler was set to lose her stake in ICE-owned Bakkt.
  • But ICE, a company run by her husband, changed the conditions.
  • The Georgia Senator is already facing declining poll numbers over scrutiny as to how she handles her finances.

When Kelly Loeffler, the former CEO of Bitcoin derivatives exchange Bakkt, accepted an appointment to be a US senator from Georgia, she got a handsome $9 million payout from her former employer. 

The payout included a $7.8 million stake in Bakkt, a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange. ICE is run by her husband Jeffrey Sprecher and also operates a dozen regulated exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange

Sen. Loeffler was set to lose her stake in Bakkt. Photo: Provided

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler, a conservative, to the senate seat in December, after it was vacated by Republican Johnny Isakson, who stepped down due to health issues. Loeffler was hit with allegations of insider trading in March after a report emerged that she dumped stock following a confidential coronavirus briefing. 

She denied wrongdoing, claiming that her investment decisions were made by third-party advisors. And later she said she was divesting from stocks amidst the criticisms. 

Now, it appears she also received a lucrative exit compensation worth more than $9 million from her husband’s company, The New York Times reported. This was on top of her regular 2019 salary and bonus of about $3.5 million, according to the Times.

The reward came in the form of shares, stock options, and other instruments that Loeffler had previously been given but was set to lose when she took up the Senate seat.  

ICE changed the terms of the awards so that she could retain them. The biggest chunk of it was a stake in Bakkt, which she was originally meant to receive under special conditions—and those conditions were never actually met, according to the Times report.

The dispensations are neither illegal nor against any congressional rule, the Times noted, but they fuel questions about how the Senate’s wealthiest member, who boasted of owning a private jet in a recent campaign ad, has handled her finances. 

The Georgia senator, who is facing declining poll numbers and ongoing scrutiny over the handling of her finances, is being challenged by Trump-ally Doug Collins, another Republican. He is running against her in a special election in November. They’ll be competing to serve out the remainder of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term, which goes until 2022.

Loeffler has not responded to Decrypt’s request for comment.