Before the Dow Jones markets crashed, Republican elected officials on key committees were caught selling off hefty sums of stocks. It’s a crime to use insider information from the government or the business to profit, but that’s exactly what economics experts think these officials did. Now at least one of those officials is being investigated, CNN reported Sunday.
One, in particular, was Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who dumped $1.6 million in stocks after he tried to tell the American people that everything was fine and the country was prepared for the coronavirus.
According to CNN, the FBI and the SEC are coordinating in the early stages of an investigation, and they have reached out to Burr. His committee had received periodic briefings about the virus that were closed to the public, though they did not have a briefing the week Burr dumped his stocks.
“Burr’s sales represent a sizable share of his portfolio of stocks, according to his latest Senate financial disclosure documents filed in May 2019, although exact numbers aren’t possible because lawmakers only report trades as a range of dollar values,” CNN reported.
Burr’s lawyer Alice Fisher said that he “welcomes a thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate.”
“The law is clear that any American — including a Senator — may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did. When this issue arose, Senator Burr immediately asked the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a complete review, and he will cooperate with that review as well as any other appropriate inquiry,” the statement also said.
Burr wasn’t the only one, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) dumped 27 stocks between $1.275 million and $3.1 million at some point between January 24 and February 14, Senate records revealed.
“They also purchased three stocks at a value of $450,000-$1 million, including shares in Citrix, a software company that’s gained approximately 15% in value since Loeffler and her husband bought the stock last month,” CNN reported.
Loeffler denies any allegation that she did anything illegal.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) husband sold $1.5 million and $6 million in stock of Allogene Therapeutics, a biotech company, in January and February. She said in a statement that she has nothing to do with her husband’s financial decisions. The company was a cancer treatment company and had nothing to do with the coronavirus, she said on Twitter.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) sold off $180,000 and $400,000, in January, and another for $50,000-$100,000 in February. In a statement, he said he has no involvement in his investment decisions.