Wednesday evening, The Daily Beast released a bombshell report on Sen. David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) latest stock trading scandal, which exposed how Perdue appeared to use his position as the Chairman of the Senate Seapower Subcommittee. Perdue was named chairman in 2019.
According to the report, Perdue purchased nearly $190,000 worth of stock in BWX Technologies, a Virginia-based company that has lucrative contracts with the U.S. Navy to develop high-tech components for its fleet of nuclear submarines. When the National Defense Authorization Act was passed later in the year, BWX Technologies stood to be in a great position to benefit.
In response to the report, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff said, “David Perdue’s corruption and self-dealing are flagrant. He is blatantly exploiting his office to line his own pockets. This conduct is utterly inexcusable.”
According to the report by The Daily Beast, Perdue secured $4.7 billion for Virginia-class submarines. While touting the NDAA bill, Perdue was selling his BWX holdings. According to financial disclosures, Perdue reported earnings of $15,000 to $50,000 in his trading of BWX.
Kedric Payne, who analyzes stock trades at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan money-in-politics advocacy group, said Perdue’s example is the very reason why many lawmakers avoid trading individual stocks.
“It is nearly impossible to make decisions affecting an industry and then receive a personal financial benefit without appearing to have a conflict of interest,” said Payne. “Even if officials rely on financial advisors to make trading decisions on their behalf, the perception of conflicts of interest remains because the public does not know if there are winks and nods prompting the trades.”
Perdue’s campaign has responded to The Daily Beast’s report. They have reiterated he has no direct control of his stock portfolio.
“This has been asked and answered—Senator Perdue doesn’t manage his trades, they are handled by outside financial advisors without his prior input or approval,” said a Perdue spokesperson. “No amount of lies from liberal media outlets or Democratic political groups will change that fact.”
Meanwhile, BWX spent $1 million lobbying Congress over the NDAA in 2019, and after the bill passed, company brass called the legislation proof of “positive traction” for its programs during an August earnings call.