Georgia Senator David Perdue boosts wealth with well-timed stock trades

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Senator David Perdue sold and bought stocks as the coronavirus began ravaging the United States.
As the ravages of the novel coronavirus forced millions of people out of work, shuttered businesses and shrank the value of retirement accounts, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged to a three-year low.

But for Senator David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, the crisis last March signaled something else: a stock buying opportunity.

And for the second time in less than two months, Perdue's timing was impeccable. He avoided a sharp loss and reaped a stunning gain by selling and then buying the same stock: Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based financial technology company on whose board of directors he once served.

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On January 23, as word spread through Congress that the coronavirus posed a major economic and public health threat, 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.

The Cardlytics transactions were just a slice of a large number of investment decisions made in the early days of the pandemic by Perdue and other senators. They stirred public outrage after it became clear that some members of Congress had been briefed on the economic and health threat the virus posed. The transactions were mentioned briefly in a story published by the Intercept in May.

Now that Perdue is locked in a pitched battle for reelection in a January 5 runoff, his trades during a public health and economic crisis have become an issue in what already has become a negative, expensive campaign that will determine which party controls the Senate.

There is no definitive proof that Perdue, who is among the wealthier members of the Senate, acted on information gained as a member of…
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