David Perdue made a fortune selling defense contractor stock while working on Senate Armed Services Committee: report

David Perdue made a fortune selling defense contractor stock while working on Senate Armed Services Committee: report
Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

In 2019, Sen. David Perdue of Georgia profited handsomely when he sold his stock shares in the defense contractor BWX Technologies. And that sale, journalist Sam Brodey reports in the Daily Beast, came after the GOP senator had been chosen to head the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower.

Brodey explains that before Perdue was chosen for that position, he "began buying up stock in a company that made submarine parts." But after Perdue "began work on a bill that ultimately directed additional Navy funding for one of the firm's specialized products," Brodey notes, he "sold off the stock, earning him tens of thousands of dollars in profits."

According to Brodey, "in the month before he took over the job, Perdue did something unusual: he acquired up to $190,000 worth of stock in BWX Technologies, a company he had never invested in before. The Virginia-based firm had lucrative contracts with the U.S. Navy to develop high-tech components for its fleet of nuclear submarines — and it was looking to expand that business when lawmakers took on the 2019 version of the sweeping annual legislation that sets funding benchmarks for the U.S. military, called the National Defense Authorization Act."

BWX is among the companies that has a contract with the Pentagon for manufacturing key parts of submarines. Brodey reports that when Perdue filed a financial disclosure form for 2019, he "reported earnings of $15,000 to $50,000 in his trading of BWX."

Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight — a nonpartisan watchdog group — finds it troubling that Perdue would invest so heavily in a defense stock in light of his responsibilities on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Amey told the Beast, "Members have inside information about our national security and defense spending, and personally benefiting from that information should be banned."

Kedric Payne of the Campaign Legal Center cited Perdue's actions as an example of why many members of Congress avoid trading individual stocks. Payne told the Beast, "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. 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 is defending one of two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia that has gone to a runoff set for January, and the outcome of those two Senate races could determine whether or not Republicans hold their Senate majority.

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