A group of lawmakers sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for an investigation of Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for possible insider trading violations.
The letter was sent by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.
The letter cites recent news reports which said that Ross shorted stock in a Russian company in advance of a news report about his holdings in the company. The letter states that the New York Times reportedly wrote to Ross asking him questions about the upcoming story and that he then opened a short position in the stock before the story was posted.
The lawmakers wrote in their letter:
We have no way of knowing precisely why Mr. Ross shorted Navigator Holdings’ stock immediately after he likely learned about – but did not disclose – a pending news story that caused the company’s stock price to drop significantly. But this chain of events raises questions about whether the Secretary potentially made investment decision based on material, non-public information, and wether that material, non-public information was potentially derived from his position as Commerce Secretary.
The letter goes on to ask the SEC to open an investigation to look at, among other things, the extent of Ross’ knowledge of news reports and rationale for his decisions relating to the purchase and sale of Navigator Holdings.
A copy of the letter is included below.