Sen. David Perdue bought stock in bank that was helped by legislation he backed
ATLANTA - A FOX 5 I-Team investigation has found more stock trades made by U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) involving a regional bank that benefited from legislation he supported and helped write.
The senator, who says his portfolio is handled by an outside firm, says he has been investigated and cleared for his buying and selling of stocks.
In March of 2018, Perdue urged fellow members of the Senate Banking Committee to support a bill rolling back Obama era regulation on smaller regional and community banks.
"I encourage every member of this body to think seriously about this and support this bill in its final passage," said Perdue.
The FOX 5 I-Team found in May of 2017, ten months prior to this public speech, Perdue began buying stock in one of the regional banks that stood to benefit from the legislation: Regions Financial Corporation. This, according to his financial disclosures.
Regions Financial Corporation is Birmingham based and serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, according to its website.
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Professor Edward Queen is a faculty member at the Emory Center for Ethics.
"The failure of legislators to regulate and control themselves is a driving factor I would argue in the decrease in trust in the political process in the United States.
Perdue's spokesperson told us "Sen. Perdue doesn't handle the day-to-day decisions of his portfolio - all of his holdings are managed by outside financial advisors."
Though the New York Times, quoting an anonymous source earlier reported, "Perdue retained some degree of discretion over which trades were made and when."
According to Perdue's financial disclosures, between May of 2017 and November of 2017 when a possible bill to help banks like Regions was publicly announced, Perdue bought between $11,000 and $165,000 worth of Regions Financial Corporation Stock.
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We don't know the exact amount because Congressional Financial disclosure reports give only a broad range.
"It's a big deal. A big deal for our country," said President Trump at the time.
In May of 2018, when Trump signed the bill rolling back what was known as the Dodd-Frank regulations on smaller banks. Regions Financial Corporation was hailed in news reports as one of the bill's big winners.
"I pledged we would rescue community banks from Dodd-Franks, the disaster of Dodd-Franks and now we are keeping that commitment," said Trump.
The new law meant only the country's largest banks -- deemed "too big to fail" -- would have their balance sheets scrutinized by the Fed, easing rules and regulations on smaller banks like Regions Financial Corporation.
Perdue continued to buy Regions' stock. In total, between May of 2017 and December of 2018 he bought Regions stock 26 times.
In October of 2019, Perdue sold thousands of those shares of Regions stock. According to his disclosure report, the two day sell off was valued between $115,002 - $300,000.
“This is about people of the United States against crooks like you in Washington, too busy enriching yourselves while in office to protect us from the most significant threat to our health and prosperity in generations," said John Ossoff during a debate.
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In the past few months, Perdue has come under attack from his opponent Jon Ossoff for other stock trades he made. And, various media outlets have questioned Perdue's buying and selling of stocks while in office.
To answer his critics, Perdue even released this ad and a statement to the I-Team saying he was investigated by the Justice Department and others and they cleared him "of any and all wrongdoing."
The ad does not say whether Regions Financial Corporation was part of the investigation.
His spokesperson wrote: "Jon Ossoff continues to push a categorically discredited line of attack on Senator Perdue despite the evidence that his accusations are entirely baseless."
Professor Queen thinks these kind of issues would disappear if all legislators put their holdings in a blind trust.
"People have to believe that the people's representatives are acting in a way that is for the good of the American public and not arguably for their own good," said Queen.
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