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Congressman asks SEC to investigate $54 million trade in Oshkosh just hours before announcement of USPS fleet-contract

Business Insider logo Business Insider 3/9/2021 mfox@businessinsider.com (Matthew Fox)
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  • Congressman Tim Ryan has asked the SEC to investigate a $54 million trade in Oshkosh stock that took place just hours before the USPS awarded a contract to the firm.
  • The USPS has been working to upgrade its fleet of vehicles and Workhorse Group was viewed as the favorite.
  • "It definitely stinks and needs to be looked into at the highest levels," Ryan said in an interview.
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The US Postal Service's decision to award a contract worth as much as $6 billion to Oshkosh to upgrade its delivery fleet is being met with scrutiny from Democrats, including Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan.

In a letter on Monday, Ryan asked the Securities & Exchange Commission to investigate a $54 million trade in shares of Oshkosh that was made just hours before the USPS officially announced its decision to award the contract to them.

"I write to pass along reports of what might be unusual trading of Oshkosh stock that took place less than 24 hours before Postmaster General Louis DeJoy publicly announced the contract decision in front of a House panel on February 23rd," Ryan wrote.

"Specifically, an over $54 million purchase of OSK [was] made 20 hours before Mr. DeJoy's announcement," Ryan added.

The announcement by DeJoy sent shares of Workhorse Group, which was viewed as the favorite to win the contract, plunging by more than 50%. Shares of Oshkosh briefly surged following the announcement, but those gains have since evaporated.

"It definitely stinks and needs to be looked into at the highest levels," Ryan said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Part of the pushback on the Oshkosh contract by Democrats is based on the fact that Workhorse Group would have delivered an all-electric fleet of vehicles to the USPS. Instead, the awarded Oshkosh contract will replace just a small portion of the fleet with electric vehicles.

"I am writing to request that the Securities and Exchange Commission look into this issue as soon as possible," Ryan concluded in his letter.

On Monday, a group of Democrats in the House of Representative introduced legislation that could give Workhorse another shot at selling electric vehicles to the USPS. Workhorse jumped nearly 30% in Monday trades following the development.

Workhorse owns a 10% stake in Lordstown Motors, which is based in Congressman Tim Ryan's Ohio district.

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