Senator David Perdue, one of two Republican senators from Georgia facing the runoff election in January, began making large and ultimately profitable purchases of shares of a Navy contractor in 2018, just before taking chairmanship of a Senate subcommittee overseeing the navy fleet.
The disclosure, first reported on Wednesday by The Daily Beast, comes as Mr Perdue and fellow Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler have faced criticism for their stock trading.
Mr. Perdue, a millionaire and prolific former trader of individual stocks, announced in May that he would be divesting his large individual stocks after questions were raised about his timely purchases of Pfizer shares in February, after senators have been informed of the situation. threat of coronavirus.
In a debate last month, Mr Perdue’s Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, called him a “con artist” who sought to profit from the pandemic. Mr Perdue has since refused to debate Mr Ossoff on two occasions.
“Senator Perdue does not manage his transactions, they are handled by external financial advisers without his input or prior approval,” said a spokesperson for Mr. Perdue in response to the report on Mr. Perdue’s transactions in stocks from the Navy contractor, BWX. Technologies.
Mr Perdue bought a total of $ 38,000 to $ 305,000 from BWX on dates when prices averaged around $ 40 per share and never closed above $ 43, according to a Times analysis of the deposits. of the Senate. He sold his shares on dates in 2019 when prices averaged over $ 50 per share and never closed below $ 49. Deposits only give a range of value for stock transactions, making it impossible to know how many stocks are being bought and sold
Mr. Perdue bought his shares of BWX, which supplies nuclear components and fuel for submarines and aircraft carriers, in the six weeks before the January 2019 announcement of his appointment as the chair of the subcommittee Senate Armed Services SeaPower.
Mr. Perdue sold his positions in BWX between February and July 2019. In June of that year, he announced that he had helped secure additional funding for the Navy in the National Defense Authorization Act. of 2020, including money for an additional submarine.
As chairman of the subcommittee, Mr. Perdue has been a strong supporter of increasing Navy spending. “In the age of great power competition, there is no doubt that our navy needs to grow and become more capable,” he said at a committee meeting in December 2019, after selling his BWX shares.
While not officially banned, individual stock transactions by members of Congress have long raised questions, according to Kedric Payne, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan watchdog group.
“This is just a perfect example of why many members of Congress have decided on their own not to trade individual stocks, even though there is no evidence of insider trading. This always begs the question whether his official actions are somehow motivated by personal interest.
“David Perdue’s corruption and personal transactions are flagrant,” Ossoff said in response to the Daily Beast article. “He openly uses his office to fill his own pockets. This conduct is totally inexcusable. “
BWX Technologies spokesperson Jud Simmons said the company was unaware that Mr. Perdue was a shareholder until recent media reports. “Like other companies, BWX Technologies is not aware of and does not control purchases of its shares by individuals,” said Mr. Simmons.