Loeffler leaves subcommittee in attempt to quell stock scandal

Georgia Republican faces tough special election in November

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., left her post on a subcommittee overseeing derivatives markets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., left her post on a subcommittee overseeing derivatives markets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted May 7, 2020 at 11:36am

In an attempt to further distance herself from a stock scandal consuming her bid to remain in the Senate, Kelly Loeffler has stepped down from an Agriculture subcommittee that oversees commodities.

Earlier this week, the Georgia Republican asked to be removed from the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade, although she remains on the full Agriculture Committee.

“In addition to liquidating her third-party managed stock portfolio, Loeffler has also formally asked to be removed from the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade before the subcommittee convenes or conducts any legislative business,” the statement on her website reads.

The subcommittee Loeffler recused herself from has jurisdiction over agencies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulator for U.S. derivatives markets. (These markets trade futures contracts on agricultural commodities, including corn and beef.)

“Loeffler previously said she would recuse herself on a case by case basis, but it’s now abundantly clear that the media and her adversaries will stop at nothing to attack her and take away from the important work taking place during this public health care crisis,” her spokesperson said in a statement.

Loeffler came under scrutiny for potential insider trading when she began selling off assets on Jan. 24, the same day she and other senators were briefed by the White House on the coronavirus outbreak. In April, she vowed to divest of her family’s individual company stocks managed by third-parties.

On Monday, she disclosed that she still held millions in Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) corporate securities, a public company led by her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher. Additionally, the New York Times reported that she received a generous monetary gift as she left her job at ICE to enter public service.

ICE owns stock exchanges and suppliers of market data, including businesses involved in global securities, futures and options trading, a crucial underpin of financial market infrastructure.

When asked about the change in Loeffler’s subcommittee assignment on Wednesday afternoon, representatives for the senator did not respond. Her office later posted a statement on her website, describing the rationale for the change.

A spokesperson for the Agriculture Committee did not respond to a request for comment.

Loeffler was appointed to fill the seat of Republican Johnny Isakson and took office in January. She faces a competitive special election for that seat in November.