Corker failed to report millions of dollars in CBL stock purchases

Corker failed to report millions of dollars in CBL stock purchases

Corker disclosed holdings after reporters asked about discrepencies

November 4th, 2015 by Andy Sher in Politics Republicans

This story was substantially updated at 12:55 p.m. to include additional information about Corker's trades and context about his previous trading habits.

U. S. Senator Bob Corker meets with members of the Chattanooga Time Free Press editorial board Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

U. S. Senator Bob Corker meets with members...

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

Statement from Bob Corker

Corker's statement on unreported CBL stock purchases: "I am extremely disappointed in the filing errors that were made in these earlier reports where the accounting firm mistakenly used realized gain/loss methodology instead of the Senate financial disclosure guidelines. Therefore, in a few cases, only the sale and gain or loss of the transaction was reported. As a result of this inquiry, and after completing a full review, we are correcting this oversight."

Statement from Corker's office: "The senator always has disclosed to the public that he invests in CBL since he first held stock in the company back in 2007. The accounting firm that worked on his financial disclosure reports properly listed the sale and gain or loss of some transactions, but did not list the day they were purchased so after completing a full review, we are correcting this technical oversight."

CBL headquarters in Chattanooga

CBL headquarters in Chattanooga

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- Over a several year period, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., omitted a dozen stock purchases he made in Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Properties Inc. from his required Senate personal financial disclosures, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said that in one previously unknown instance, Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor and real estate developer, in late 2011 purchased between $1 million and $5 million of stock in CBL, one of the nation's largest shopping mall operators where Corker began his career.

He sold the stock five months later for a 42 percent gain, the newspaper reported.

In 2009, The Journal said, a pair of Corker purchases in accounts in the name of his daughters "likely" resulted in a $1 million-plus gain, although the newspaper said the exact profit was impossible to calculate.

The Journal reported that Corker disclosed the CBL stock purchases recently after the newspaper posed questions about apparent discrepancies in his annual Senate financial-disclosure reports.

Congressional ethics rules require lawmakers to make public their financial investments in broad ranges.

In a written statement to the Journal last week, Corker stated to the newspaper that he was "extremely disappointed in the filing errors that were made in these earlier reports where the accounting firm mistakenly used realized gain/loss methodology instead of the Senate financial disclosure guidelines."

Because of the mistakes, Corker said, "in a few cases, only the sale and gain or loss of the transaction was reported. As a result of this inquiry, and after completing a full review, we are correcting this oversight."

The Journal said that although Corker made between $1 million and $5 million on his CBL trades in both 2010 and 2012, he could have lost money in other years. That's because senators are required to disclose annual profits, but not losses, on investments.

In 2011, The Journal reported on Corker's frequent trading in CBL. In a statement at that time, the senator said he had "watched the trading range on this hometown-based stock" and "found that especially during times of market volatility it trades within wide ranges." He added: "I've bought it heavily when it is at the low end of that range and then I hold it until there is upward movement, when I sell."

Members of Congress are allowed to invest in just about any company, as long as they aren't trading based on inside information and they disclose their investments. There are no penalties for correcting errors in filings, which are frequently made by Congressional members, because ethics regulators want to encourage lawmakers to correct mistakes, the Journal said.

Corker and CBL have a relationship going back to the beginning of his career. Corker helped construct buildings for CBL after college, and later started his own real estate firm that invested in malls and offices. CBL executives have donated money to Corker campaigns. 


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