It is still astounding that Georgia’s two sitting U.S. senators both face a tightly-contested runoff in January under the cloud of insider-trading investigations. This is in spite of the fact that a not uncommon reaction to early, privileged information about the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic in China among members of the world’s greatest deliberative body was not to deliberate on how to handle the growing threat, but instead (on one side) to sell some stock, or (on the other side, that of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue) to lie about the dangers of COVID-19 and then also sell some stock.

And, of course, it must be said that both Loeffler and Perdue and all of their colleagues not named Richard Burr have been officially cleared of any wrongdoing, as only Burr, apparently, in spite of his then-post as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had the equally not-unusual-among-D.C.-Republicans time and inclination to day trade himself. And even Burr is likely to get away with it, thanks to Bill Barr’s rather generous reading of the law—a law which Burr voted against—barring senators like himself from trading on secrets learned on account of being senators.

This, on the other hand? This seems like the kind of thing that members of Congress can still be sent to jail for.

[Cardyltics CEO Scott] Grimes and Mr. Perdue had known each other since at least 2010, when Mr. Perdue joined the board of Cardlytics, then a small and privately held Atlanta start-up…. “David, I know you are about to do a call with David Evans,” Mr. Grimes wrote from his iPad, according to a copy of the exchange reviewed by The New York Times. “As an FYI, I have not told him about the upcoming changes. Thanks, Scott….”

Mr. Perdue responded to Mr. Grimes’s email by saying he would check with his Senate scheduler but “I don’t know about a call with David or the changes you mentioned….”

“David, Sorry. That email was not meant for you. Wrong David!” he wrote.

Vague, yes. But certainly non-public. And certainly, at least as far as the Wrong David was concerned, at least potentially material.

Mr. Perdue then contacted his wealth manager at Goldman Sachs, Robert Hutchinson, and instructed him to sell a little more than $1 million worth of Cardlytics shares, or about 20 percent of his position…. Mr. Perdue’s legal team told investigators that Mr. Hutchinson had advised their client in October 2019 that he needed to sell Cardlytics shares to balance his holdings…. Mr. Perdue elected to go forward with those changes in January, his lawyers said.

Immediately after receiving a cryptic e-mail about “upcoming changes” from the CEO of a company he’d previously served as a board member, and three months after his wealth manager told him to do it. Nope, nothing suspicious about that at all, as far as Bill Barr is concerned.

After conducting interviews, including with Mr. Perdue and Mr. Grimes, investigators reached their conclusion that the senator had no nonpublic information about the company’s performance when he made the Cardlytics trade.

And, you guys: It has an even happier ending.

Perdue sold off $1 million to $5 million in Cardlytics stock at $86 a share, according to congressional disclosures.

Weeks later, in March, after the company’s stock plunged following an unexpected leadership shakeup and lower-than-forecast earnings, Perdue bought the stock back for $30 a share, investing between $200,000 and $500,000.

Those shares have now quadrupled in value, closing at $121 a share on Tuesday.

Truly the party of the working class and not the rich, as Perdue's colleague and husband of Perdue's money manager's colleague Ted Cruz says. It’s good to be a crook and a U.S. senator, and luckily for Perdue, he’ll probably get to keep being both.

The poll showed… U.S. Sen. David Perdue had a 50-46 lead over Democrat Jon Ossoff, echoing the results of the November election when the Republican fell just under the majority-vote mark he needed to win outright.

Stock Trades by Senator Perdue Said to Have Prompted Justice Dept. Inquiry [NYT]
Ga. Sen. Perdue boosts wealth with well-timed stock trades [AP]

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