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Susie Lee trust made favorable stock trades before COVID-19

Updated June 26, 2020 - 4:44 pm

A trust belonging to Nevada Rep. Susie Lee and her husband, Full House Resorts CEO Dan Lee, made several favorable stock trades as Congress underwent early briefings on the coronavirus pandemic in late January, financial disclosures filed by the congresswoman show.

Lee’s congressional office said the trust is managed by a third-party investor, whom she did not direct to make any transactions at that time.

On Jan. 29, DSL Living Trust sold part of between $1,001-15,000 worth of stock in Graphic Packaging Holding Company, a sustainable paper packaging manufacturer, and between $2,002-30,000 in shares of Targa Resources Inc., a natural gas company.

The trust also purchased between $2,002-30,000 in Grocery Outlet stock on Jan. 28 and Jan. 30.

Early congressional briefings on the pandemic ran from Jan. 24, when the Senate met with top officials, to Jan. 29, when the House did the same.

“The Congresswoman is not involved in the day-to-day trading decisions of the DSL Trust,” Lee’s office said in a statement. “She did not direct any stock trades during the week of Jan. 29, when the House received an unclassified briefing on COVID-19. Any trades done that week were executed by a third-party money manager with no input whatsoever from the Congresswoman.”

Her office added that Lee did not attend the Jan. 29 briefing, as she was in another meeting part of her duties as the chairwoman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization.

Gas and oil have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, while grocery store sales surged as worried customers began to stock up.

Targa’s stock fell from $38.05 per share on Jan. 29 to a March 18 low of $4.73 before climbing back to $18.18 as of Friday. Graphic Packaging fell from $16.08 on Jan. 29 to $10.57 in March and $13.30 as of Friday.

Grocery Outlet’s stock price has risen from $32.61 on Jan. 30 to $39.40 as of Friday.

Lee’s trust continued to make similar sales and purchases in the days leading up to the Feb. 20 market crash.

These included a Feb. 5 partial sale of $1,001-15,000 worth of Nexstar Media Group, Inc. stock, which fell from $125.09 per share on Feb. 5 to March 23 low of $46.26. The price is currently $79.57. Nexstar owns Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, Channel 8.

Lee was not included in a Campaign Legal Center analysis that found 12 senators and 37 House representatives traded stock between Feb. 2 and April 8.

The Department of Justice is investigating whether Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., committed insider trading after allegedly selling between $628,000 and $1.72 million in stock on Feb. 13⁠, one week before the stock market crashed.

Three other senators were also investigated, but no charges were filed.

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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