WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Senator David Perdue, who is seeking reelection in one of two U.S. Senate races in Georgia, bought shares in a Navy contractor just before becoming chairman of a Senate armed services panel in 2019 and then sold the stock at a profit, Senate records show.
A wealthy businessman, Perdue instructed his financial advisers to stop trading individual stocks in May after questions were raised in media reports about whether he used information learned in a closed-door Senate coronavirus briefing to benefit his investment portfolio.
Perdue said at the time he used an outside adviser to manage his finances and was not involved in day-to-day decisions.
Perdue became chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower in mid-January 2019, which plays a key role in determining spending on the Navy.
In the six weeks before he took the panel’s helm, Senate financial records show that Perdue accumulated between $32,000 and $305,000 worth of stock in BWX Technologies Inc BWXT.N, a supplier of nuclear components for Navy submarines and aircraft carriers.
The lawmaker then sold BWX stock from Feb. 26 to July 9, 2019, and reported earning between $15,000 and $50,000 from the investment for that year.
Between December 2018 and and July 9, 2019, BWX stock rose from less than $42 per share to nearly $53 on the New York Stock Exchange, the records show.
Perdue’s transactions in BWX were first reported by The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
In response to inquiries from The Daily Beast about this activity, Perdue’s office referenced past scrutiny of the senator’s stock trading, insisting that he does not have anything to do with his investment portfolio.
Perdue’s Senate office and campaign did not respond to Reuters queries seeking comment.
A BWX spokesman said the company does not control purchases of its stock by individuals and was unaware of Perdue’s transactions.
Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in a Jan. 5 runoff election that will help determine whether Democrats or Republicans win control of the Senate.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Lincoln Feast.