Legislators Made Precisely Timed Stock Trades Amid the COVID Pandemic: WSJ

Four hundred officials from 50 notable government agencies bought and sold significant U.S. firm stocks. Pentagon and Treasury are part of these governmental agencies. But, according to Wall Street Journal reporting, these stocks were decimated by the coronavirus epidemic.

The Findings of WSJ And Its Methods/Approach  

WSJ arrived at its determination using a COVID-19 schedule, financial disclosure forms, and public record requests for emails.

The WSJ reported that government personnel working on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic made profitable trades at the start of the epidemic. The lawmakers made the deals during downturns and upswings in the market. 

Those Few Listed Legislators Involved in The COVID Stock Trade

The Wall Street Journal investigated the financial dealings of many prominent politicians in Washington. Elaine Chao, a former secretary of transportation, is among these figures. 

Hugh Auchincloss, the primary deputy director of a National Institutes of Health branch, was also there. There was also Stephen Redd, the CDC’s deputy director of public health service.

These officials and others often trade in and out of various industries and stock markets. They achieved this primarily via mutual funds and stock exchange-traded funds. 

When information about COVID-19’s potential impact on health and the economy leaked out, it happened. But unfortunately, it also coincided with the government’s significant relief efforts designed to keep the United States from falling into a depression.

Chao invested about $600,000 in two stock funds. The transaction occurred in March 2020, when government authorities tried to halt COVID-19 and stabilize the economy and financial markets.

Her husband, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was the Senate Majority Leader during the COVID-19 stimulus package deliberations.

A member of the Treasury Department’s staff invested in Boeing and GE. A government financing program aided the purchases, and the two suppliers were market leaders in the ventilator industry.

As part of a stock mutual fund sale, Auchincloss made something in the range of $15,000. The transaction completion was when CDC announced the first case of COVID-19 in the United States on January 24, 2020. 

A few more mutual funds and Chevron stock were sold by Auchincloss a few days later.

In the severe market drop of February 20, 2020, Auchincloss saw a significant decline in the value of every investment it sold. The week after that day, stock markets fell the most in a single week since the 2008 financial crisis.

Redd liquidated between $195,005 and $500,000 in equities and bonds after becoming aware of the impending COVID risk at the end of January.

240 health agency and Pentagon employees who handled COVID-19 vaccination distribution had stakes in various enterprises. Filings value their interests at $9–$28 million. 

The WSJ found that 160 officials at 50 agencies acquired travel and leisure stocks that got billions in government subsidies. 

Those In Authority and Public Discourse Have Refuted the Claims

Top government personnel bought stocks and mutual funds using insider knowledge. The purchases coincided with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s written comments on February 28, 2020. 

To preserve the economy, the central bank would lower interest rates. So, Fed rates dropped to near zero. Fed and Treasury officials traded twice as much in the week following that remark as they did the year before.

WSJ called agency leaders and spokespeople. Many principals, including Goettman, denied comment. Chao’s spokesperson claimed financial experts advised her transactions. Redd stated he had no previous knowledge of the transactions in his wife’s account made by a financial advisor.

The CDC and health departments declined to comment. The other agencies either stated they were not responsible for monitoring these transactions or that they fulfilled their ethical guidelines. This mainly addresses the equities that were traded by them, not when.

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