GOP Sen. Tuberville under scrutiny for purchase of Intel stock days prior to signing of CHIPS Act

It was in early August that President Joe Biden signed into law a bipartisan bill known as the CHIPS Act that would, in order to increase competition, provide more than $50 billion in taxpayer subsidies to U.S.-based computer chip manufacturers.

It has now been disclosed that just a few days prior to that event, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) purchased up to $265,000 worth of Intel Corporation stock, one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world, the Daily Caller reported.

The timing of that transaction has raised skepticism among some about the possibility that Tuberville sought to financially benefit himself via foreknowledge of impending government action, but that could be a stretch as the passage of the CHIPS Act wasn’t exactly a closely held secret and the senator has asserted that financial advisors handle all transactions on his behalf.

Scrutiny over disclosures

According to Markets Insider, Sen. Tuberville recently disclosed in a filing that he had made two purchases of Intel stock on Aug. 5 that totaled anywhere from $101,000 to $265,000.

Interestingly enough, despite the general assumption that Intel’s stock would rise in value in light of the impending CHIPS Act subsidies, the company’s share value has declined since Tuberville’s purchase, meaning he would lose money if those shares were to be sold at current prices.

Insider further noted that Tuberville has come under scrutiny for numerous other stock transactions he has made over the past few years and has been accused by some watchdogs of being “slow to disclose trades.”

Tuberville reacts

However, with respect to the Intel stock, the Daily Caller noted that Sen. Tuberville has bought or sold shares of that company nearly 20 times over the past year and a half, with his most recent sale being in January and the most recent prior purchase being in July.

Furthermore, a spokesperson for Tuberville told the outlet that the senator “has long had financial advisors who actively manage his portfolio without his-day-to-day involvement.”

On top of that, in response to a recent New York Times article detailing potential conflicts of interest in congressional trading that highlighted prior transactions by Tuberville involving pharmaceutical company stocks — he sits on the Senate Health Committee — the senator himself told the Times, “I don’t trade stocks, my brokers do.”

Likely much ado about nothing

Even a left-leaning watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, acknowledged to the Daily Caller that despite the suspicious timing of the Intel transaction, it didn’t appear obvious that Tuberville had acted unethically on insider information — though the American people are certainly justified in seeking answers on questions of transparency.

“Sen. Tuberville’s purchases came after the votes, so it does not appear he was using non-public information,” CREW spokesperson Jordan Libowitz told the outlet. “However, the fact that we’re being asked about this just shows how uncomfortable Americans are with their representatives making money off of the actions of Congress — even, in this case, on bills they voted against.”

Indeed, the Daily Caller noted that Tuberville voted against the very bill that some now accuse him of exploiting for his own financial benefit.