Previously unreported lawmakers who sold assets in the weeks leading up to the market crash include Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), who unloaded thousands of dollars of stock in Alaska Air and Royal Caribbean cruises. A senior aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell made a mid-January purchase of Moderna, Inc., a biotechnology company that had four days earlier announced it would begin developing a coronavirus vaccine. And an aide to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sold off stock in companies including Delta Airlines in late January and later bought stock in Clorox, Inc., which makes bleach and sanitary wipes.
The trades show that — as much of the public was blindsided by both the pandemic and the economic meltdown over the last two weeks — a number of lawmakers, aides and their brokers helping manage their portfolios adjusted their investments. Lawmakers in both chambers were being briefed via both classified and non-classified meetings about the coronavirus in late January and February, giving people on Capitol Hill a closer look at how the coming pandemic might shape their lives and finances that much of the country was lacking.
“The reality is that if you work on the Hill, or you work in government, you have access to information that the public doesn’t have or, if they have it, they can’t always see the signal through the noise,” said Meredith McGehee, executive director of the watchdog group Issue One.