Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler — who was just sworn into office this week after being appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp — is diving headfirst into the culture of Washington in her new role sitting on a committee that oversees the government agency that regulates her husband’s business.
Loeffler, who has never held a political office her life, was appointed to Senate Agriculture Committee where she will be one of the senators overseeing the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission. One of the companies that the CFTC oversees is the Intercontinental Exchange Inc, where Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the CEO. The conflict of interest was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Loeffler said, “I have worked hard to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Senate’s ethics rules and will continue to do so every day. I will recuse myself if needed on a case-by-case basis.”
But her new role has already caused criticism, Robert Maguire of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington summarized the development in a straightforward tweet, writing, “Republican leadership has assigned Georgia’s new interim senator to a committee that oversees the federal agency that regulates her husband’s business.”
Republican leadership has assigned Georgia's new interim senator to a committee that oversees the federal agency that regulates her husbands business https://t.co/KeLrO3PkZJ— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) January 8, 2020
Though Loeffler has never been elected to office, she and her husband have a long history of pumping money into politics. The Center for Responsive Politics notes that they have given $3.2 million to political committees and have even donated to Democrats including to Hillary Clinton in 2007.
Loeffler replaced Senator Johnny Isakson and her appointment caused a bit of tension in the party. Many Republicans had backed Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, who has enjoyed an elevated profile in the impeachment era, but Kemp tapped Loeffler for the role.