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Republican Senator Faces Insider-Trading Accusations Ahead of Georgia Runoff

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Multimillionaire Sen. David Perdue traded hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock while passing pro-bank legislation.
David Perdue, one of two multimillionaire Georgia Republican senators facing insider-trading scrutiny ahead of runoff elections in January, traded hundreds of thousands of dollars in bank stock while passing pro-bank legislation on the Senate Banking Committee, financial disclosures show. Between 2017 and 2020, while on the committee, Perdue co-sponsored 14 bills that benefited the financial industry, including through deregulation and extended liability protection. In that time he also accepted more than $1 million in political contributions from financial interests, federal filings show. This spring Perdue, one of the most active traders in Congress, pushed back against allegations of insider trading in advance of the coronavirus, claiming that outside advisers made the calls without his input. A bombshell New York Times report on Wednesday has made clear that was a lie: This summer, Justice Department investigators found that Perdue had instructed one of his brokers to offload more than $1 million in a company after the CEO tipped off the senator in a personal email. This news comes as Perdue faces a Jan.5 runoff against Democratic rival Jon Ossoff, who battered Perdue on the insider-trading allegations throughout the year. The runoff, along with Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s runoff election held on the same day — Loeffler faces the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat — will determine which party controls the Senate. The latest stock news also creates a new context for assessing Perdue’s personal involvement in prior trades, such as millions of dollars in transactions while he served on the Banking Committee. Perdue, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, built his fortune in the style of Mitt Romney — “a turnaround specialist who helps revive brands and reap rewards for investors,” as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it in a review of his business record. The AJC ruled that his record was “mixed,” in part because of a buyout Perdue helped structure as the CEO of Dollar General, which landed him a $42 million windfall when he stepped down in 2008. The next year, the company had to pay that same amount to settle shareholder claims that Perdue and other execs had shortchanged them in the deal. Perdue, who was elected to the Senate in 2014, has invested millions. A portion of it rests in a Wells Fargo brokerage account and a Georgia holding company called DBP Enterprises, where Perdue has held an ownership stake since 2011. That DBP stake comprises 130 assets valued anywhere between $12 million and $29 million, according to 2018 Senate financial disclosures. His Wells Fargo account lists 60 assets valued at up to $1.2 million. Disclosures only provide ranges of value, so we cannot know precisely how much money Perdue has moved in stock trades, or the extent of his profits. But the forms do show that between 2017 and 2020, while he sat on the Banking Committee, Perdue traded at a minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions.

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