Senate Intel. Chair ‘acted as a scofflaw in a time of national crisis…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) The Justice Department is reportedly probing questionable stock trades made by Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, prior to the market’s crash in early March due to the escalating health crisis.
Burr allegedly pulled out between between $628,000 and $1.72 million worth of stock on Feb. 13, a few weeks after the Senate was briefed on Jan. 24 about the severity of the coronavirus.
Burr was one of four senators who pulled out of the market right before its historic downturn. Because of his prominent position as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, DOJ officials are looking into whether Burr had insider information on the coronavirus at the time he withdrew his money from the markets, according to CNN.
Burr has insisted that he relied only on public news reports while making his decision. He has agreed to cooperate with the Senate Ethics Committee, and continues to argue he did nothing wrong.
“The law is clear that any American—including a Senator—may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did,” his lawyer, Alice Fisher, said in a statement.
“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,” Fisher said .
Now Burr must also cooperate with the DOJ’s investigation, which is being conducted in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to CNN.
Burr, whose support for the Mueller investigation alienated some Trump-supporting conservatives, is also facing public scrutiny, notably within his own party, due to the questionable timing of his decision to sell. He already had announced that he would not seek re-election.
Alan Jacobson, a stockholder in Wyndham Hotels, filed a civil suit against Burr for what he called a dereliction of duty.
Burr is “a scofflaw in a time of national crisis,” Jacobson alleged in the federal lawsuit.
The complaint said that Burr “owed a duty … not to use material nonpublic information that he learned by virtue of his duties as a United States Senator in connection with the sale or purchase of any security.”