GOP lawmaker dumped $50K in Apple stock just as DOJ ramped up antitrust probe
Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL) (Official photo)

Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL) is coming under some scrutiny after he sold off roughly $50,000 worth of stock in Apple just as the United States Department of Justice ramped up a probe into the tech giant.

The Washington Examiner reports that records show Franklin unloading the stock on February 15th, which was the same day that sources revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the DOJ was adding more attorneys to its years-long probe of Apple in an apparent escalation of its investigation.

Russel Read, a spokesman for Franklin's office, tells the Examiner that the congressman was not even aware of the sales of Apple shares until February 22nd, or one week after the sales occurred.

""He had asked his broker at the beginning of February to liquidate shares of stock to generate a certain dollar figure," the spokesman explained. "He left it to the broker to decide which specific stocks, how many shares, and the date(s) of sale(s)."

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Nonetheless, Public Citizen's Craig Holman tells the Examiner that the sale creates a troublesome appearance of impropriety given Franklin's position on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which he noted provides "an opportunity for access to inside information on Apple and the investigation."

A bipartisan bill banning members of Congress from trading stocks has been introduced this legislative session, although it is currently not known whether it will get a vote on the House floor.