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California congresswoman sold stock in travel companies

Shirsho Dasgupta and Kate Irby, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Susan Davis of California and her husband sold stocks related to travel and tourism less than two weeks after members of the House of Representatives received a closed-door briefing on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The revelation comes on the back of news reports of Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and others selling stocks after receiving classified briefings by administration officials on the coronavirus threat.

The House had a briefing on the coronavirus threat that was exclusive to all members on Jan. 29, according to an invitation obtained by McClatchy. Briefers included Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

McClatchy's analysis of financial disclosure reports of members of Congress found that Davis, a retiring Democrat who represents the San Diego area, sold part of her stocks of Miami-based cruise line giant, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and her husband sold his stocks of Alaska Air on Feb. 11, 2020 -- 13 days after the briefing.

On the same day, her husband purchased stocks in California-based high-speed broadband service provider, ViaSat Inc., and Baidu, the Chinese counterpart of Google.

Aaron Hunter, a spokesman for Davis, said a third party handles her portfolio.

 

"(She) does not play a role in the purchase or sale of her stocks," Hunter said.

Davis' sale of her shares in the cruise line was worth between $1,001 and $15,000. The other three stock trades were between $15,001 to $50,000. Congressional rules require reports to state only ranges and not precise figures.

All four of these transactions took place nine days before the stock market began to rapidly plummet on Feb. 20. There were smaller market losses starting on Feb. 12.

The couple also purchased and sold stocks that either seem unrelated to the epidemic or seemed counterintuitive to knowledge of the upcoming epidemic.

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