September 24, 2023

Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, stands for a photo at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, Nov. 9, 2020.

Stefani Reynolds | Swimming pool | Reuters

Senator Tommy Tuberville ran for office while advocating the “rule of law” and criticizing China – but in less than eight months in office, the Alabama Republican has broken a federal financial transparency law while selling stock options in China’s leading e-trading company.

Tuberville, as a newly released financial report shows, has failed under the STOCK Act to file disclosures of approximately 130 stock and option trades made from January to May within a maximum 45 day period required by that law for members of Congress .

The total value of trades ranged from $ 894,000 to more than $ 3.5 million, according to the report filed on Friday. The report lists values ​​in ranges, not in absolute terms.

Those deals included a January 25 stock put option sale for Alibaba Group Holding Limited, the giant Chinese e-commerce company.

The sale of the put options – which would give their holders the right to sell Alibaba through September 19 at a share price of $ 230 – was valued at $ 15,001 to $ 50,000.

The sale came after Tuberville, a former college football coach and ally of Donald Trump who blew up China’s government, sold an investment in Alibaba in mid-2020, months before winning the Senate election.

Tuberville’s business and failure to report it by the STOCK Act deadline has been revealed by Business Insider.

Business Insider noted that Tuberville had also bought and sold stocks and stock options in companies “in a variety of companies particularly vulnerable to the” Covid pandemic, including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and 3M, even when he was at Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Tuberville’s belated filing is only the latest in a series of controversies that affect individual stock deals by members of Congress who are allowed to buy and sell stocks of individual companies, many of which are affected by federal law.

Last year, prosecutors investigated share sales by and in connection with Senator Richard Burr, RN.C. Senator Jim Inhofe of R-Okla., Then Senator Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., And Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

These investigations ended without charge – but the investigations and details of the controversial deals were widely publicized by the time Tuberville was running for office.

A Tuberville spokeswoman told CNBC that the former Auburn University coach did not even know about the individual stock and option deals described by Business Insider, and therefore did not know they were until the STOCK Act deadline would have to be disclosed.

She said Tuberville has financial advisors who handle its stock trading – but she wouldn’t identify those managers when CNBC asked them who they were.

In an email, the spokeswoman said, “Senator Tuberville has long had financial advisors who actively manage his portfolio without his daily involvement.”

“Senator Tuberville was unaware that the specific transactions reported in this particular periodic transaction report occurred,” she said.

“After learning of the transactions, the Senator swiftly prepared this report and submitted it to the Senate Ethics Committee,” she said.

“The Senator has put in place procedures for timely reporting,” added the spokeswoman.

A number of senators watched by federal investigators last year had also stated that they were not doing business on their stock portfolios.

CNBC asked if anyone in Tuberville’s office was being disciplined for failing to meet the STOCK Act deadline and if Tuberville was getting rid of its portfolio management team.

The spokeswoman did not answer either question.

When asked about Alibaba, the spokeswoman noted that she told reporters earlier this year that Tuberville’s investment in Alibaba stock was less than $ 5,000 and that when he learned he owned the stock in early 2020, he was his Advisors have instructed to sell the share. “

That sale took place almost in mid-2020, June 1 of this year, she said.

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When asked if Tuberville paid a $ 200 fine for failing to file a STOCK Act disclosure filing, the spokeswoman said, “Our office is working with the committee to ensure full compliance with their rules to ensure. “

CNBC has reached out to the Senate Ethics Committee for comment.

On June 4, Tuberville praised President Joe Biden for enacting an executive order that would allow the United States to ban US investments in Chinese companies that the White House said might represent the security or democratic values ​​of the United States and undermine our allies.

“This executive order is a step in the right direction and I am pleased that President Biden is building on the foundations President Trump laid for ending American investments in Chinese companies,” Tuberville said last month.

“Chinese companies routinely violate US sanctions laws and actively facilitate the Chinese Communist Party’s military expansion and persecution of religious minorities.”

Tuberville also pointed out that in May he put in place the TSP investment ban in China, which would permanently ban federal retirement savings plans from investing in Chinese companies.

Reuters reported in 2019 that Alibaba had developed a Chinese Communist Party government propaganda app that had become very popular in China.

While promoting his bill in May that would prohibit the investment of TSP funds in Chinese companies, Tuberville railed, “We’ve seen it time and time again – Chinese companies disobey the rules, commit intellectual property theft, and disregard them basic regulations standards to the detriment of investors. “

“Not a single taxpayer dollar should be invested in these companies that have a clear history of corruption,” said the senator.

In June 2020, when he was running for the Senate, Tuberville sued the US Supreme Court over a ruling that prevented the Trump administration from ending the DACA program, which allows undocumented people to enter the United States at a young age United States were brought to stay there the country.

“The Supreme Court has put bogus political correctness above the rule of law and the everyday, hard-working Americans who have joined President Trump to make our country great again,” Tuberville said.