New Filing by Rand Paul Raises Securities Experts' Eyebrows

Discloses wife's COVID-related stock buy 16 months late, prompting whispers of insider trading
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2021 6:44 AM CDT
Paul Discloses Wife's COVID-Related Stock Buy 16 Months Late
US Sen. Rand Paul, left, R-Ky., and wife Kelley Paul are seen Jan. 28, 2019, during jury selection in a civil trial in Warren Circuit Court in Bowling Green, Ky.   (Bac Totrong/Daily News via AP)

Rand Paul's headline-making week isn't over yet. First the Republican senator from Kentucky was booted from YouTube for a week for spreading misinformation on face masks. Now Paul, one of the most vocal lawmakers to break with federal health officials on how to handle COVID, has made a revelation raising eyebrows among securities and ethics experts. On Wednesday, Paul disclosed in a Senate filing that his wife, author Kelley Paul, in February 2020 bought up to $15,000 in stock in Gilead Sciences, the company behind the antiviral drug remdesivir, the first drug approved by the FDA to treat COVID, per CNN. The STOCK Act, designed to combat insider trading by members of Congress, requires such filings to be completed within 45 days of the trade—meaning Rand Paul's filing is 16 months late. Kelsey Cooper, a spokesman for the senator, says Kelley Paul lost money on the investment, and that Rand Paul actually had filled out reporting paperwork on time.

"In the process of preparing to file his annual financial disclosure for last year, he learned that the form was not transmitted and promptly alerted the filing office and requested their guidance," Cooper says. Why rumblings of insider trading have started, per the Washington Post: Although Kelley Paul bought the stock two days after the WHO publicly touted remdesivir as the only drug that "may have real efficacy" in treating the virus, Rand Paul is part of the Senate's health panel—a committee that hosted Trump administration officials in January 2020 for a COVID briefing. "There could have been information about interest that certain individuals within [the] administration may have had in the product," says a Columbia University securities law expert. Cooper says Paul never attended any COVID briefings. Some say the heightened scrutiny on other Congress members for insider trading in early 2020 should have caused Paul to be even more careful about filing on time. (More Rand Paul stories.)

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