In May we reported on some noteworthy trades made by Tennessee Representative Phil Roe (TN-01) related to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, we were trying to understand how and why these trades were initiated. Now, we are able to further support our analysis in the more comprehensive infographic above.
Roe made substantial stock purchases in January and suddenly dumped a number of stocks in mid-March, many of which were in companies affected by the pandemic. According to his disclosures a number of these trades were explicitly initiated by Roe, although he denies initiating any trades and claims he has an entirely “arms length” relationship with his financial advisor. See here for a full analysis of why we doubt this claim.
What follows is a more-detailed timeline of Roe’s trades. Roe’s disclosures can also be accessed directly at Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives.
FULL TIMELINE JANUARY
- 6th: Roe makes substantial purchases in 62 different companies, many of which are internet-based and/or would later take off during the pandemic (Google, Slack, Zoom, and vaccine research and testing companies like Moderna).
- 21st: US announces first case of coronavirus.
- 30th: Closed door briefing with members of Congress regarding the spread of Covid-19 (which Roe acknowledges did occur).
- 31st: Roe purchases more stock in Zoom and the WHO issues a global health emergency.
- 25th: CDC announces that Covid-19 is heading toward pandemic status.
- 26th: Roe (a doctor) first writes about coronavirus in his public health column.
- 4th: Roe highlights Trump’s response to the coronavirus while telling constituents to “remain calm and vigilant.”
- 6th: 21 passengers aboard a California cruise ship test positive for coronavirus. Roe sells off huge amounts of shares in 60 different companies (including some hit hard by the virus later on: cruises like Royal Caribbean, airlines like Delta, and energy companies like Chevron).
- 8th: Dow records single worst day since 2008. Many companies of which Roe sold shares hit their lowest share prices in years.
- 9th: Roe sells off more stock in 40 other companies.
- 13th: Trump declares national emergency.
- Companies Roe sold at beginning of month have plummeted:
- Chevron on 3/6: $95 → on 3/23: $54
- Delta on 3/6: $46 → on 3/12: $33
- 24th: FinePrint first flags Roe’s trades as noteworthy because his trade activity is different from previous behavior.
- Roe began trading more heavily in Gilead, all of which were unsolicited trades
- Roe’s trade activity overall was much higher than the previous year
- Health & Science shares purchased in January (Covid-related companies) have skyrocketed. So have internet-based technologies.
- Moderna on 1/6: $18.13 → on 5/22: $68.99
- Zoom on 1/6: $70.32 → on 5/22: $171.06
- 26th: The Tennessean runs a story calling out Roe for shady Covid-trades.
- 28th: Roe responds to The Tennessean story calling it “a political hit job” and “character assassination” while arguing he did not initiate any trades.
- 29th: FinePrint publishes a second piece contributing to the discussion of Roe’s trades and pointing out inconsistencies between Roe’s public statements and annotations in his financial disclosures.
- Roe avoided substantial declines on shares sold in the short run (a matter of days) and made substantial gains on shares over a few months
- Roe’s trade activity went up significantly this year compared to last
- Most of the trades in question are listed as “unsolicited”, which explicitly indicates that Roe’s broker did not solicit him for these trades; Roe solicited him.
- 2019: 846 transactions in 277 assets valued between $4.6 million and $21.8 million
- 2020 through 4/2 alone: 680 transactions in 314 assets valued between $4 million and $18.4 million
- The Tennessean’s analysis stops on April 2 after Roe filed for extensions for his disclosure deadlines.
- Original Joel Ebert coverage from The Tennessean / USA Today (no paywall)
- Initial coverage of Roe’s public statements in the Kingsport TimesNews
- Joel Ebert coverage of Roe’s statements in the Knoxville News Sentinel
- FinePrint’s own coverage on Congressional ownership of Gilead
- FinePrint’s analysis of Roe’s trade annotations in his financial disclosures
- COVID-19 timeline in the Atlanta Journal Constitution