Update (03/20/2020): Burr has responded to the report, claiming that he relied "solely on public news reports" when he conducted a flurry of stock sales on February 13 - specifically noting CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus.
"Understanding the assumption many could make in hindsight however, I spoke this morning with the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and asked him to open a complete review of the matter with full transparency."
My statement in response to reports about recent financial disclosures: pic.twitter.com/J4kye5a4ok— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) March 20, 2020
This only raises more questions...
Important here that Burr seems to confirm that his Jan. sales were in fact due to concerns over the virus. The question is, if he was so troubled by what he watched @onlyyoontv report, daily, why didn't he say so publicly, immediately? Did he push the WH on his concerns? https://t.co/EDW8HxBECc— Scott Wapner (@ScottWapnerCNBC) March 20, 2020
Burr's excuse still doesn't explain why he sold 10 days after writing an op-ed claiming America was 'better prepared than ever for coronavirus."
Selling stocks:— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) March 20, 2020
According to financial disclosures Sens.:
- Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.),
- James Inhofe (R-Okla.),
- Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
- Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
Each sold stocks within days of the Senate holding a classified briefing on Jan. 24. https://t.co/cWChhALGS6
Inhoffe has offered a response as well:
I do not have any involvement in my investment decisions. In December 2018, shortly after becoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I instructed my financial advisor to move me out of all stocks and into mutual funds to avoid any appearance of controversy.— Sen. Jim Inhofe (@JimInhofe) March 20, 2020
* * *
Fox News's Tucker Carlson had some serious words for Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who sold off a significant percentage of his stocks on February 13 - raising between $628,000 and $1.72 million in 33 separate transactions.
Carlson noted Burr sold "more than a million dollars in stock in mid-February after learning how devastating the Chinese coronavirus could be.
"He had inside information about what could happen to our country - which is now happening - but he didn't warn the public. He didn't give a prime time address. He didn't go on television to sound the alarm. He didn't even disavow an op-ed he'd written just ten days before claiming America was 'better prepared than ever for coronavirus."
Instead what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel so he wouldn't lose money. And then he stayed silent.
Now maybe there's 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 crisis, and that appears to be what happened." -Tucker Carlson
Perhaps Burr was simply reading Zero Hedge's coronavirus coverage?
Meanwhile, a second Senator has come under fire for similarly selling stocks before the market took a dive - selling between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000 between January 24 and February 14.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., has become the second lawmaker to have reportedly sold stock weeks before the coronavirus outbreak triggered a stock market downfall.
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Loeffler sold stock that was owned by her and her husband and January 24, which was the same day she sat in on a closed-door coronavirus briefing as a member of the Senate Health Committee with the Trump administration, which Dr. Anthonly Fauci was in attendance.
27 out of 29 February transactions by Loeffler and her husband were sales. One of the buys worth $100,000 - $250,000 - Citrix, is a teleworking software company, which has risen since the pandemic has progressed.