NYT: Senator David Perdue Is The Senate’s “Most Prolific Stock Trader By Far”

December 2, 2020

Perdue “bought and sold shares” of a number of financial companies his Senate panel directly oversaw

Perdue traded stock in malware detection company while on cybersecurity subcommittee, which “could have provided him with nonpublic information”  

ATLANTA — A new report by the New York Times revealed that Senator David Perdue’s stock transactions during his term in Washington accounted for “nearly a third” of all Senate trades reported in the past six years, making him the Senate’s “most prolific stock trader by far, sometimes reporting 20 or more transactions in a single day.” Perdue’s 2,596 trades in just six years is “roughly equal” to the combined trading volume of the next five most active traders in the Senate.

The report notes that along with an “unusually” large volume of stock trades, Perdue’s trades were often in companies that also “stood to benefit from policy” that came before the exact committees and subcommittees on which Perdue served, raising additional concerns after the Justice Department uncovered that Perdue lied to Georgians about not having input on his stock transactions.

“Not only was Perdue making more stock transactions than any other senator, but he was trading stocks in companies within his Senate committees’ oversight – that’s corruption, plain and simple,” said Braxton Brewington, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “If only Perdue spent as much time delivering pandemic relief to struggling Georgians as he does getting even richer off the stock market.”

New York Times: 2,596 Trades in One Term: Inside Senator Perdue’s Stock Portfolio

  • “Last week, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department had investigated the senator for possible insider trading in his sale of more than $1 million worth of stock in a financial-analysis firm, Cardlytics. Ultimately, prosecutors declined to bring charges. Other media outlets have revealed several trades in companies whose business dealings fall under the jurisdiction of Mr. Perdue’s committees.”
  • “An examination of Mr. Perdue’s stock trading during his six years in office reveals that he has been the Senate’s most prolific stock trader by far, sometimes reporting 20 or more transactions in a single day.”
  • “The Times analyzed data compiled by Senate Stock Watcher, a nonpartisan website that aggregates publicly available information on lawmakers’ trading, and found that Mr. Perdue’s transactions accounted for nearly a third of all Senate trades reported in the past six years. His 2,596 trades, mostly in stocks but also in bonds and funds, roughly equal the combined trading volume of the next five most active traders in the Senate.”
  • “The data also shows the breadth of trades Mr. Perdue made in companies that stood to benefit from policy and spending matters that came not just before the Senate as a whole, but before the committees and subcommittees on which he served.”
  • “Nearly half of Mr. Perdue’s FireEye trades, for example, occurred while he sat on the cybersecurity panel, a role that potentially could have provided him with nonpublic information about companies like FireEye. During that period, FireEye landed a subcontract worth more than $30 million with the Army Cyber Command, which had operations at Fort Gordon, in Mr. Perdue’s home state. In 2018, Mr. Perdue reported capital gains of up to $15,000 from FireEye trades.”
  • “Mr. Perdue disputes the notion that his investment activity posed a conflict, saying that his trades were handled by outside advisers without his input, although his instructions to Goldman Sachs to sell Cardlytics suggest that he directed at least some trades.”
  • “In April, after questions were raised about stock trades that Mr. Perdue and other senators had made around the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, he abruptly sold virtually all of his stock holdings — between $3.2 million and $9.4 million worth.”
  • “Mr. Perdue’s Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, has seized on the trading as a campaign issue. In a news conference on Monday, he accused Mr. Perdue of “using his office to enrich himself” through the stock trades. A spokesman for Mr. Perdue called the critique a “discredited line of attack” that was “baseless,” and his campaign recently unveiled an ad arguing that he was “totally exonerated” by federal overseers who had studied his trades.”
  • “Yet others have also found fault with Mr. Perdue’s trading. In a letter last week to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, requested an investigation of Mr. Perdue’s trades in BWX Technologies, a Virginia-based company that supplies nuclear components for Navy submarines. The trades were first reported by The Daily Beast.”
  • “Mr. Perdue began buying the company’s stock about a month before he took over as chairman of the Senate’s seapower subcommittee, where he pushed to beef up the nation’s defenses, including by adding a multibillion-dollar nuclear submarine of the type BWX Technologies provides components for.”
  • “He reported earning between $15,000 and $50,000 in capital gains when he sold the stock.”
  • “Over the next six years, Mr. Perdue — or his advisers — would place some prescient bets in his portfolio, buying and selling stocks at just the right moment. His trading in Devon Energy, a company co-founded in 1971 by J. Larry Nichols, a major Republican donor, provides an example.”
  • “On Nov. 12, 2015, Mr. Perdue sold his position in Devon, worth between $50,000 and $100,000, on a day the stock’s price closed at $45.06. Over the next month, Devon’s price would fall as low as $31.54, a 30 percent drop from the date Mr. Perdue liquidated his holdings. Analysts attributed the stock’s decline to the company’s announcement, after Mr. Perdue’s sale, that it would acquire assets from Felix Energy.
  • “Mr. Perdue actively traded in First Data, a financial firm based in Atlanta. Like his trading in Devon Energy, Mr. Perdue’s transactions in First Data appear to have been well timed, as reported by The Daily Beast.”
  • “After selling his entire stake in First Data in November 2018, Mr. Perdue repurchased shares in the company that December, three weeks before it announced a merger with the financial services technology firm Fiserv on Jan. 16, 2019. Mr. Perdue subsequently reported capital gains of $50,000 to $100,000 in First Data. Mr. Perdue had received campaign contributions from First Data executives.”
  • “Mr. Perdue’s decision to sell off his stock holdings this past April followed criticism of trades made by several senators in coronavirus-sensitive stocks just after they had attended a Senate briefing on Jan. 24.”
  • “Mr. Perdue, whose office has said he did not attend that briefing, was among those who bought and sold some of those stocks, including Pfizer, in the weeks that followed. Mr. Perdue purchased up to $260,000 worth of Pfizer stock between Feb. 26 and Feb. 28, in the early days of a market downturn. On the 28th, he issued a news release reporting that he had regularly attended briefings led by the coronavirus task force; records subsequently showed that he had bought the third tranche of Pfizer shares that same day.”
  • “The news release also emphasized that the U.S. government was expediting the development of a coronavirus vaccine. And in March, Pfizer announced its partnership with a German biotechnology company, BioNTech, to develop a coronavirus vaccine.”
  • “Mr. Perdue had frequently traded Pfizer stock before this year. He had rarely traded another stock he bought in the early stages of the U.S. outbreak, DuPont, which, as a manufacturer of personal protective equipment, also stood to benefit from the coronavirus response. (Mr. Perdue purchased some shares in DuPont on Jan. 24, the day of the Senate briefing, and additional shares later.)”


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