For the second time in a week, reports have emerged alleging that Georgia Sen. David Perdue has tried to use his position to enrich himself or those around him.
Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue wanted the Trump administration to give wealthy owners of sports teams a special tax break, according to reporting from ProPublica. The news only adds to the long list of ways the senator has tried to use his position in the government to further enrich himself and his wealthy donors.
Perdue sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in 2019, pushing for team owners to qualify for a sizable 20% tax deduction that was part of the 2017 tax reform bill. The Treasury Department ultimately declined to grant his request.
The letter was odd, ProPublica reports, because Perdue is not on the committee that had jurisdiction over the issue. No other senators joined him in lobbying for this tax break. Perdue, notably, also does not have a sports team of his own.
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What Perdue does have, however, is donors who own sports teams. That includes Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a GOP politician who currently holds the other Georgia Senate seat and is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream WNBA team. She donated “about $70,000” to Perdue before being appointed to her own seat.
Both Perdue and Loffler are in Jan. 5 runoff races that could determine which party controls the US Senate.
ProPublica found that Perdue has “taken more than $425,000 from the owners of professional sports teams and their relatives,” including the DeVos family, which owns the Orlando Magic, as well as the owners the Los Angeles Kings, Cleveland Browns, and Nashville SC.
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This latest report comes just after news broke of Perdue using his role in Congress to make money off stock trading. The Daily Beast revealed that the senator bought stock in a company that makes submarine parts just one month before he took over a Senate committee in charge of Navy oversight. He ended up making $15,000 to $50,000 from the move.
Perhaps even more alarming—given the toll that has been exacted on the US due to the coronavirus—earlier in the year, both Perdue and Loeffler profited off of classified information on the likely severity of the coronavirus pandemic, despite downplaying the pandemic in public. In April, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Perdue bought stock in a company that makes personal protective equipment (PPE) on Jan. 24, the same day senators had a classified briefing on the coming pandemic.
Loeffler, similarly traded stock immediately after the same classified briefing on the coronavirus pandemic that benefitted Perdue. From Jan. 24 through Feb. 14, the senator and her husband—Jeff Sprecher, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange and the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange—sold off millions of dollars in stock.