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Levin writes: "The Senator's wife invested in a company that makes COVID treatments as he insisted the virus was nothing to worry about and preventative measures should be ignored."

Sen. Rand Paul. (photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty)
Sen. Rand Paul. (photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty)

Rand Paul Swears There's an Innocent Explanation for Not Disclosing His Wife's COVID Stocks for 16 Months

By Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

13 August 21

The Senator’s wife invested in a company that makes COVID treatments as he insisted the virus was nothing to worry about and preventative measures should be ignored.

ne of the loudest voices of misinformation and otherwise entirely unhelpful bullshit during the coronavirus pandemic has been Senator Rand Paul. In March 2020, the senator from Kentucky refused to quarantine while awaiting test results for COVID-19—which came back positive—instead continuing to work at the Capitol for a full six days, during which he could have given the virus to other lawmakers and staff in the complex. Later he used having had COVID previously to insist that mask wearing was completely unnecessary, a crusade he’s vigorously doubled down on over the past year and a half, falsely claiming that mask usage is “theater” and that face coverings don’t stop the spread of the virus—the latter of which got him suspended from YouTube this week. He’s also urged people to ignore guidance from public health experts trying to stop the spread of the deadly delta variant and has refused to get vaccinated. Oh, and he’s repeatedly suggested that Dr. Anthony Fauci is essentially responsible for COVID-19 as part of a sustained campaign to undermine confidence in the nation’s top doctors and researchers, while simultaneously trying to convince Americans that COVID, which has killed more than 618,000 people in the U.S. and counting, is nothing to be concerned about.

So it would be really crazy to find out he or someone he’s married to invested in a company that makes a drug used to treat COVID-19—which is probably why he failed to disclose as much for a whopping 16 months. Per The Washington Post:

Senator Rand Paul revealed Wednesday that his wife bought stock in Gilead Sciences—which makes an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19—on February 26, 2020, before the threat from the coronavirus was fully understood by the public and before it was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The disclosure, in a filing with the Senate, came 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, and especially the delayed reporting of it, undermined 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. Several senators sold large amounts of stocks in January or February of last year, prompting a handful of insider trading probes. Most of those investigations concluded in the spring of 2020, according to notifications from the Justice Department to lawmakers under scrutiny.

“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,” James D. Cox, a professor of law at Duke University, told the Post. And the senator does have an explanation, though it appears to be predicated on assuming we’re all stupid.

Kelsey Cooper, a spokeswoman for Paul, said the senator completed a reporting form for his wife’s investment last year but learned only recently, while preparing an annual disclosure, that the form had not been transmitted. He sought guidance from the Senate Ethics Committee, she said, and filed the supplemental report Wednesday along with the annual disclosure, which was due in May and submitted three months late.

Right, sure, he only just learned “the form had not been transmitted.” Sounds totally legit, especially given his year-and-change crusade to convince people not to take preventative measures to avoid contracting COVID and giving it to others. Sounds totally on the up-and-up.

Remdesivir gained emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in May of last year and was administered to then president Donald Trump when he was sick with COVID-19 in October, before it gained full approval. Results of a WHO-sponsored study released later that month raised doubts about the drug’s effectiveness, prompting the international agency to recommend against its use as a treatment for COVID-19.

That marked a reversal from its original position, laid out on February 24, 2020—two days before Kelley Paul’s purchase—by a WHO assistant director general, who described remdesivir as the only known drug that “may have real efficacy” in treating the novel virus. The National Institutes of Health began a clinical trial the next day. The drug brought in $2.8 billion for Gilead last year.

The existence of public information causing Gilead’s stock to rise, said Joshua Mitts, an expert in securities law at Columbia University, doesn’t rule out the possibility that the senator gained additional knowledge in private. Paul is a member of the Senate health committee, which in January hosted Trump administration officials for a briefing on the coronavirus.

“Not everything about the product was necessarily clear from existing announcements,” Mitts told the Post. “There could have been information about interest that certain individuals within the administration may have had in the product, or that hospitals here in the U.S. were already loading up.” While Cooper claimed Paul never attended any briefings on COVID-19, eight days after his wife invested in Gilead, he voted against authorizing $8.3 billion in emergency aid to fight the emerging outbreak.

Meanwhile, given the numerous news reports last year about possible insider trading among senators, one might have expected, as Jordan Libowitz, communications director for the watchdog group CREW, put it, that Paul would “make sure all of his reporting was on the up-and-up.” But apparently, not so much. Curious! your social media marketing partner
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