Scandal, Resignation, and Defection: Another Rough Week for Loeffler’s Flailing Campaign

May 8, 2020

Loeffler’s week went from bad to worse as new revelations emerged about her growing scandals while she continues to hemorrhage GOP support

ATLANTA — It’s been another disastrous week full of new scandal revelations and desperate PR stunts for unelected “political mega-donor” Senator Kelly Loeffler — and another subsequent round of bad coverage. 

After beginning her week with her latest desperate attempt to distract from her stock trading scandal by setting $4 million on fire with a new ad campaign, news broke that Loeffler hadn’t even followed through on her last damage control promise to sell-off her individual stock holdings. Instead, she held on up to $25 million worth of stock in her former employer, ICE.

But that wasn’t all: a bombshell NYT report revealed that Loeffler got a “lucrative parting gift” from ICE — whose regulator she now works to oversee in Congress. The fall-out from this revelation became so overwhelming that Loeffler resigned from the subcommittee — but not the full committee — with “direct jurisdiction” over ICE’s industry in yet another desperate attempt at damage control. But Loeffler still won’t answer whether she asked to be appointed to the committee that is “an overseer of the overseers of the company that made her rich” in the first place.

And of course, no week would be complete without another GOP defection from Loeffler’s flailing campaign. This week, former Congresswoman Karen Handel became the latest GOP official to “break ranks” and support Loeffler’s opponent, top Trump ally Congressman Doug Collins. Handel’s support marks yet another setback for Loeffler that only adds to this blunt analysis from the AJC: “One by one, Kelly Loeffler’s advantages are disappearing.”

Read the coverage Loeffler’s facing after another rough week:

NYT: Loeffler Got Lucrative Parting Gift From Public Company en Route to the Senate

  • When Kelly Loeffler accepted an appointment to be a United States senator from Georgia, she left behind a high-paying job as a senior executive at the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange. But on her way to Washington, her old employer gave her a lucrative parting gift.
  • Ms. Loeffler, who was appointed to the Senate in December and is now in a competitive race to hold her seat, appears to have received stock and other awards worth more than $9 million from the company…That was on top of her 2019 salary and bonus of about $3.5 million.
  • Corporate governance experts generally frown upon companies handing such parting gifts to senior executives because they do not serve a clear business purpose and, in cases where the executive is taking a government job, they risk creating the appearance that the company is trying to curry political favor.
  • “From a corporate governance perspective, large payments to executives are appropriate only if they serve an adequate corporate purpose,” said Lucian A. Bebchuk, the director of the Program on Corporate Governance at Harvard Law School. He added that shareholders in Intercontinental Exchange “should not view this arrangement to have been on the up-and-up.”

POLITICO: Loeffler recuses herself from Agriculture panel, distancing herself from stocks issue

  • Sen. Kelly Loeffler is removing herself from a Senate Agriculture subcommittee, in an effort to quell ongoing scrutiny over her stock trades and finances.
  • The move comes as Loeffler’s opponents continue to attack her over her financial transactions, and Wednesday’s news didn’t bring her a reprieve. A spokesperson for Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who is challenging Loeffler for her seat in a special election in November, was quick to chastise the senator’s decision.
  • Loeffler came under fire in March for selling off millions of dollars in stocks after receiving a classified briefing on the coronavirus in January…But she faced additional scrutiny Wednesday, after the New York Times reported she received millions in awards upon leaving her role as chief executive of Bakkt.

Roll Call: Loeffler still owns millions in individual company stock

  • Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who has been scrutinized for stock trades she made after a private briefing on the coronavirus, hung on to millions in corporate securities, her most recent financial filing shows.
  • The Georgia Republican holds between $5 million and $25 million in Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) corporate securities stock, a company led by her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher. Loeffler — who receives equity compensation from ICE — made between $1 million and $5 million in capital gains and dividends from her ICE holdings, her filing shows.
  • [Public Citizen’s CraigHolman:] “Maintaining investments in ICE is not in compliance with Loeffler’s pledge to divest from individual stocks. ICE stocks pose the exact same conflicts of interest posed by Loeffler’s other individual stock investments. She is banking on the bank and investment industries, not the well-being of the economy as a whole.”

AJC: Karen Handel backs Doug Collins’ bid for US Senate

  • Republican Doug Collins picked up another key GOP supporter for his U.S. Senate bid on Thursday as former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel endorsed the congressman’s challenge to incumbent Kelly Loeffler.
  • She is among a handful of Republicans to recently break ranks with Gov. Brian Kemp, who appointed Loeffler to the seat in December over Collins and other applicants in part because he hoped she could appeal to suburban women who have fled the party.
  • Handel’s endorsement comes as Loeffler, a former financial executive who is self-financing her campaign, faces more scrutiny over her stock transactions and her ties to Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, the financial trading platform her husband runs.
  • Her candidacy has sharply divided Georgia Republicans at a time when Democrats are aiming to upend GOP control of the state.

AJC: The Jolt: One by one, Kelly Loeffler’s advantages are disappearing

  • The rationale behind Gov. Brian Kemp’s appointment of Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate is coming under increasing stress.
  • In the beginning, her wealth meant the Buckhead Republican could self-fund two statewide contests in two consecutive election cycles – but that advantage is rapidly eroding.
  • First, there was the controversy over her stock trades during a pandemic.
  • Then last Friday, Loeffler finally submitted documents detailing her financial assets and interests…The New York Times quickly noted that she had received a $9 million pay-out when she left her executive position at the Intercontinental Exchange, parent company of the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Last night, Loeffler had announced that she had asked to be removed from the Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade, a panel that has oversight of exchanges such as those owned by ICE.
  • Loeffler’s selection was predicated on the fact that her first ballot contest…would have the flavor of a general election, and she could escape the hardcore dynamics of a GOP primary. But that just hasn’t been the case.


Other News from DPG

Questions? Tips? Call anytime.

Georgia Voter Protection Line


Democratic Party of Georgia

Help us elect Democrats in Georgia.