Sen. Rand Paul has been feuding with Dr. Anthony Fauci is recent weeks, determined to unearth evidence that he says will prove that the United States’ National Institutes of Health funded research that unleashed the coronavirus on the world. It was revealed Wednesday, however, that the truth-seeking Kentucky Republican has been severely tardy in making disclosures about his family’s financial dealings.
Paul, a member of the Senate Health Committee who is privy to closed-door briefings about public health issues, disclosed that his wife, Kelley, bought stock in the company that manufactures an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19 right before the world learned that the coronavirus had become a worldwide pandemic.
The disclosure came in a filing with the Senate, 16 months after the 45-day reporting deadline set forth in the Stock Act, which is designed to combat insider trading.
Experts in corporate and securities law said the investment – particularly the delayed reporting of it – undermines trust in government and raised questions about whether the Kentucky Republican’s family had sought to profit from nonpublic information about the looming health emergency and plans by the U.S. government to combat it.
A number of senators sold large blocks of stocks in January or February of last year, prompting a series of insider-trading investigations. Most of them ended in the spring of 2020 and determined no wrongdoing, according to notifications from the Justice Department to lawmakers under scrutiny.
Paul’s wife’s transaction was not part of those probes. “The senator ought to have an explanation for the trade and, more importantly, why it took him almost a year and a half to discover it from his wife,” said James D. Cox, a professor of law at Duke University.
Eight days after wife Kelley invested in Gilead, the company behind the antiviral drug thought to be effective against covid-19, Paul cast the lone vote in the Senate against $8.3 billion in emergency spending to combat the emerging outbreak.
Jordan Libowitz, communications director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the flurry of media reports about possible insider trading by members of Congress during the reporting window for his wife’s purchase should have made the senator all the more attentive to disclosure rules.
“One would think he would make sure all of his reporting was on the up and up,” Libowitz said.