North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr is the subject of yet another troubling story from ProPublica.
This is from a story the award-winning national news outlet released last evening entitled “On the Same Day Sen. Richard Burr Dumped Stock, So Did His Brother-in-Law. Then the Market Crashed.”:
Sen. Richard Burr was not the only member of his family to sell off a significant portion of his stock holdings in February, ahead of the market crash spurred by coronavirus fears. On the same day Burr sold, his brother-in-law also dumped tens of thousands of dollars worth of shares. The market fell by more than 30% in the subsequent month.
Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, who has a post on the National Mediation Board, sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies — including several that have been hit particularly hard in the market swoon and economic downturn.
A person who picked up Fauth’s phone on Wednesday hung up when asked if Fauth and Burr had discussed the sales in advance….
Burr came under scrutiny after ProPublica reported that he sold off a significant percentage of his stocks shortly before the market tanked, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a member of the health committee, Burr had access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security and public health concerns.
Before his sell-off, Burr had assured the public that the federal government was well-prepared to handle the virus. In a Feb. 7 op-ed that he co-authored with another senator, he said “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.”
That month however, according to a recording obtained by NPR, Burr had given a VIP group at an exclusive social club a much more dire preview of the economic impact of the the coronavirus, warning it could curtail business travel, cause schools to be closed and result in the military mobilizing to compensate for overwhelmed hospitals.
Through his lawyer, Burr denied any legal wrongdoing. He has previously called for an investigation of his behavior by the Senate Ethics Committee, which has a reputation for treating senators with kid gloves. Given however the widespread public outrage to which the previous revelations gave rise, it’s increasingly clear that, if he sticks around, the lame duck lawmaker will be the subject of widespread derision during his final 32 months in office and serve as yet another national embarrassment for North Carolina.