COVID-19, News

Burr apparently still subject of insider trading investigation

Sen. Burr checks his phone at a recent Senate hearing.

In case you missed it, multiple news outlets reported yesterday that the investigation into allegations of insider trading by Sen. Richard Burr continues, even as probes have concluded with respect to the actions of three other senators.

As the news site Vox reported:

The Department of Justice is dropping its insider trading investigation into the coronavirus-related stock trades of Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The department is still investigating trades made by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), however — as part of that investigation, a cell phone was seized after he was served a search warrant by the FBI on May 13 at his Washington, DC, residence.

The FBI, in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission, began an investigation in late March into lawmakers who may have tried to profit from information received over the course of their Senate duties regarding the coronavirus.

The Vox story went on to recount Burr’s actions that have attracted the attention of investigators:

On February 13, Burr, who Roll Call estimates is the 154th wealthiest federal lawmaker, sold up to $1.7 million in stock transactions. In making those trades, Burr sold up to $150,000 worth of shares of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Wyndham’s stock dropped from $59.10 per share at the close on the day Burr sold it to a low of $21.59 on March 19, before rebounding. He also sold up to $100,000 in stock in Extended Stay America, an economy hospitality company.

Burr had been getting briefings on the coronavirus for several weeks before making the trades, and according to an NPR report, he said at a luncheon for a group called the Capitol Hill Club in late February that the virus was “more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” likening it to the 1918 flu pandemic.

His brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, a Trump appointee to the National Mediation Board, which mediates labor-management relations in the railroad and airline industries, also sold significant shares on the same day, according to a ProPublica report on May 6.

More recently, federal agents seized Burr’s cellphone as part of the investigation.

Burr’s troubles have spurred individuals on different sides of the political spectrum to call for his resignation. His current term in Washington runs through January 2023, and he has already said he will not seek reelection in 2022.

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