By Dave Williams
ATLANTA – The Justice Department has dropped an investigation of stock transactions U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and two Senate colleagues made following a closed-door briefing in January on the looming coronavirus pandemic, Loeffler’s office confirmed Tuesday.
Loeffler, a wealthy Atlanta businesswoman, and Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., turned over documents to investigators after political opponents and media reports called attention to the buying and selling of millions of dollars in stocks by the three senators shortly after the briefing.
A fourth senator, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, remains under investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Loeffler has said the stock transactions were made by a third-party advisor without her input.
Last month, she liquidated her holdings in individual stocks and converted those assets into broader exchange-traded funds and mutual funds. At the time, she said she was doing so not because of any wrongdoing but to end the distraction over false allegations.
“Today’s clear exoneration by the Department of Justice affirms what Senator Loeffler has said all along – she did nothing wrong,” Loeffler campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson said Tuesday. “This was a politically motivated attack shamelessly promoted by the fake news media and her political opponents.”
Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the Senate last December to succeed retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson on an interim basis. To finish out Isakson’s six-term, she must win in November in a crowded “free-for-all” contest featuring 21 candidates, including both Republicans and Democrats.
The field of hopefuls includes U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, and – on the Democratic side – the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church; Matt Lieberman, son of 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; and former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver of Augusta.