Republican steps down from Senate subcommittee over potential conflict of interest: Report

Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) was appointed by state Gov. Brian Kemp (R) in January after Republican Johnny Isakson stepped down for health reasons, according to reports. During her brief time in office, Loeffler has been the subject of controversy over how she handled her personal investments during the COVID-19 crisis — and now, while the freshmen senator isn’t leaving her seat, she won’t be continuing as usual.

The Washington Examiner is reporting that Loeffler “requested to leave a Senate subcommittee focused on commodities, risk management, and trade to avoid potential criticism over her personal financial dealings.”

“Loeffler previously said she would recuse herself on a case by case basis, but it’s now abundantly clear that the media and Sen. Loeffler’s adversaries will stop at nothing to attack her and take away from the important work taking place during this public healthcare crisis,” a spokesperson for the senator told the Daily Caller, according to the Examiner.

The spokesperson went on: “The senator continues to serve on the full Agriculture Committee, and her focus remains on delivering results and relief for Georgia’s farmers and all hard-working families across the state.”

A GOP challenger

The move comes in the wake of criticism stemming from Loeffler’s decision to sell stocks that she owned before the market crashed due to pressure from the coronavirus. Some contend that she did so on the basis of information obtained in her role as a government official.

One person who has taken particular issue with Loeffler is Georgia Rep. Doug Collins (R), who will be mounting a challenge to the Capitol Hill newcomer in this fall.

“What about the Agriculture Committee?” Collins representative Dan McLagan asked in an interview with Politico on Wednesday, according to the Examiner. “The Joint Economic Committee? The U.S. Senate?

“She has five conflicts of interest before her first chai latte every day, and her campaign is starting to look like a Saturday Night Live sketch,” the Republican challenger to Loeffler complained.

More controversy

Loeffler’s appointment indeed raised eyebrows among conservatives, who feared that the former Wall Street executive may not share their values, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Of particular concern were ties between the senator and the WNBA; Loeffler owns a team in the women’s basketball league, which itself is affiliated with Planned Parenthood. Loeffler, for her part, has previously attempted to reassure pro-life voters, as Fox 5 in Atlanta notes.

Loeffler also isn’t the only one being scrutinized for her COVID-19-related financial dealings. Fellow Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Richard Burr (R-NC) have all been subjected to similar scrutiny, the Examiner reported separately.

It looks like a lot more digging will need to be done before this matter can be put to rest.

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