Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is asking the Senate Ethics Committee to review his sale of stocks prior to the market crash.
Jan. 24: Senate gets private briefing on coronavirus
Feb. 7: Burr op-ed says U.S. "is better prepared than ever before"
Feb. 12: Dow hits all-time high
Feb. 13: Burr sells $628k-$1.7m in stock
Feb. 27: Burr privately compares coronavirus to 1918 fluhttps://t.co/OwCYWCUhtP
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) March 20, 2020
Others are calling for an investigation into why Burr, and several members of Congress suspiciously sold stock right before the coronavirus crisis struck the country. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Weeks before the new coronavirus pandemic sent the stock market plummeting, several members of Congress, their spouses and investment advisers sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock after lawmakers attended sensitive, closed-door briefings about the threat of the disease.
Some of the well-timed sales saved the senators and their spouses as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential losses, a Wall Street Journal analysis of the trades shows.
The Senators in question, all Republicans include Richard Burr (NC), Kelly Loeffler (GA), David Perdue (GA), and James Inhofe (OK). The WSJ adds, “The husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, also sold stock before the market downturn.”
Ms. Loeffler and Ms. Feinstein, who are both married to sophisticated investors, said they had been unaware of the trades because they are handled by advisers. Mr. Purdue’s portfolio is managed by an investment adviser who regularly makes dozens of trades and was buying as well as selling shares of companies at the time. Mr. Inhofe in a statement said he also has an investment adviser and doesn’t manage trades.
None of the transactions are being questioned more than the ones initiated by Senator Burr. As chair of the Intelligence Committee, the Washington Post says “private briefings that Burr… received from Trump officials about the scale of the threat might have influenced the financial move.” Here’s the Senator’s response today.
My statement in response to reports about recent financial disclosures: pic.twitter.com/J4kye5a4ok
— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) March 20, 2020
But that answer isn’t doing much to calm calls for the Senators to resign. One of the most damning assessments comes from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. As someone who the president looks to for guidance, it was surprising to see him become one of the first to call for Burr to step aside.
“Maybe there is an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading. There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis, and that appears to be what happened.”
Tucker Carlson calls for Senator Burr to resign and await prosecution for insider trading if he cannot provide a reasonable explanation for his actions. He goes on to say it appears that Senator Burr betrayed his country in a time of crisis pic.twitter.com/q7yJa5wjuA
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) March 20, 2020
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “As Intel chairman, @SenatorBurr got private briefings about Coronavirus weeks ago. Burr knew how bad it would be. He told the truth to his wealthy donors, while assuring the public that we were fine. THEN he sold off $1.6 million in stock before the fall. He needs to resign.”
Richard Burr should not hold government office by Monday. He needs to resign today.
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) March 19, 2020
Burr and Loeffler should resign.
As should any Democrat who did the same thing.
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) March 20, 2020
This could put key GOP Senate seats more in jeopardy come November.
If Loeffler and Burr are forced to resign, McConnell is going to have to defend seats in GA and NC in an election year that is shaping up to be… fairly treacherous.
— Alex Wagner (@alexwagner) March 20, 2020
Trump addressed this news briefly during the daily coronavirus briefing. He mostly downplayed the report and only mentioned Sen. Feinstein by name.
Earlier today, Fox News reported on the Burr/Loeffler stock dumps by focusing their headline on Dianne Feinstein's largely innocuous trade.
Today, Trump goes with the Fox News angle, saying it was Feinstein and "a couple of others." pic.twitter.com/c7qbCzkcRr
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 20, 2020