Earlier this year, Kelly Loeffler—by many accounts the richest person in Congress—decided she wanted just a little more. Publicly, Loeffler, a former asset management executive whom Georgia’s Republican governor had appointed to the Senate in December, was confident, reassuring, and, above all else, dismissive about Covid-19. “Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness,” she tweeted in late February. “@realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe.” Two weeks later, she continued to assure her followers that there was nothing to worry about. “Concerned about #coronavirus? Remember this: The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing.”
In private, Loeffler, who had received a briefing about the havoc Covid-19 was about to unleash on the country, was unloading millions in stock, while making two new investments, one in a company focused on teleworking software. (Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.) Within weeks, the companies whose stock Loeffler had sold had lost a third of their value.
The Department of Justice ultimately closed an insider trading inquiry into Loeffler, but she is still fending off accusations that she profited from the pandemic, as she tries to hold on to her seat in a January runoff election—an election that may decide which party controls the Senate. The insider trading charges are now the least of her worries. This summer, Loeffler reoriented her campaign around the supposed excesses of Black Lives Matter. (Her Democratic Senate opponent, Raphael Warnock, is Black.) Her insistence that BLM is steeped in racist, Marxist ideology has put her in conflict not only with the women’s basketball team she co-owns, but with the entire league—players wore “Vote Warnock” t-shirts in warm-ups, raising over $100,000 for the Democratic candidate. Loeffler responded by claiming that she was being “canceled” for refusing to speak out against racial injustice. If she wins, she will have pulled off quite a coup: Profit off the pandemic, belittle those striving for racial equality, and emerge the victim.