As Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) proclaims her exoneration from allegations of insider trading, she’s simultaneously building a campaign fundraising system that imagines her campaign as a Wall Street-style investment opportunity.
The Georgia Republican is offering donors and fundraisers benefit packages to support her re-election bid. Those packages come in three tiers: investor, shareholder, and board member.
That’s according to a fundraising brochure obtained by The Daily Beast, which also details each of the benefits that donors can expect from membership in what Loeffler’s campaign refers to as a “co-investor program” and has dubbed its “executive council.”
It’s common for campaigns to award such honorifics to their top donors and fundraisers. But the terms that the Loeffler campaign has chosen for its tiered donor honorees now carry some additional political baggage. Though the Justice Department chose to drop its investigation into Loeffler over her and her husband’s stock trades before the coronavirus pandemic caused the market to crash this year, the timing and size of her trades has been an albatross around the neck of her re-election effort
According to the brochure laying out the various levels of “executive council” membership, an individual must donate $1,500 and a political action committee must give $5,000 if they are to qualify for the “investors” title. Alternatively they can raise $15,000 for the campaign. To achieve “shareholders” status, an individual must give $2,800 and a PAC must give $7,500, or raise $30,000 for the campaign. The top tier, “board member” is reserved for max-out donors—$5,600 for individuals and $10,000 for PACs—or those who raise $50,000 for the campaign.
The donations come with access. All executive council members get access to quarterly breakfasts and monthly conference calls with the campaign, according to the brochure, as well as a thank-you event for donors. Shareholders and board members also get invites to a PAC retreat and a more exclusive quarterly reception. And board members alone get to go to the campaign’s holiday party in December and “other special events throughout the year.”
One of those other events is scheduled for this September and will feature Loeffler and a to-be-announced “special guest.” The event will take place after 18 holes of golf at a donor retreat at the tony Sea Island Beach Club on the Georgia coast, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Daily Beast.
That retreat will cost individual donors $2,800 and PACs $5,000 to attend, with contributions benefitting the Loeffler Victory Committee, a joint fundraising account benefitting Loeffler’s campaign and her leadership PAC. But only executive council board members get access to that exclusive “nineteenth hole” event.
Loeffler is doling out these donor perks despite having already loaned $10 million to her own campaign. The Senate’s wealthiest member, she has said she’ll personally spend twice that to win reelection in November.
The task became significantly more difficult in March, when The Daily Beast reported that Loeffler and her husband, New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeff Sprecher, had sold off millions of dollars in stock in the weeks after Loeffler attended a closed-door Senate briefing on the novel coronavirus.
Loeffler has vehemently and consistently denied that she used any information gleaned through her official duties to inform her stock trades, which she says are handled entirely by a third-party investment advisor.
Loeffler and Sprecher nevertheless agreed in April to liquidate their individual stock holdings in order to head off the controversy. They also turned over documents related to those stock sales to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as it probed insider trading allegations against multiple Senators. The Justice Department announced last month that it was dropping its investigation into Loeffler while continuing to look into similar allegations leveled at Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
Since then, Loeffler has triumphantly declared total vindication, attacking critics and media outlets—including The Daily Beast—in statements to the press and in a barrage of television ads attempting to shore up her political standing.
Loeffler is facing off in a special election in November against twenty opponents of both parties, with her most formidable challenge coming from Republican Rep. Doug Collins. The most recent poll, conducted last month, showed Loeffler trailing not just Collins but also two Democrats in that “jungle-style” race.