Multiple Senators appear to have bought and sold stocks on inside info about COVID-19
BREAKING NEWS: As this piece was being published, additional questions have arisen Friday about Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) also has over $1 million in stock transactions between January 24 and February 18 of the same type as those detailed within this article..
A series of financial disclosures required by the U.S. Senate shows that two Republican senators sold off millions of dollars’ worth of stock in the weeks before the coronavirus tanked the U.S. stock markets. The report immediately raised concerns that Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) sold their shares using inside information to avoid financial harm from the coronavirus.
What is unclear is how much both knew about the potential economic havoc COVID-19 would cause, Both attended private briefings about the dangers of the disease after most of the sales occurred.
However, several hundred thousands of dollars in stocks, between the two senators, were also sold on February 13. On that date, Burr told constituents in North Carolina that the virus was going to be “more akin to the pandemic in 1918” than any disease the U.S. or the world has recently experienced.
Sen. Loeffler raised the alarm about the potential economic dangers of the crisis in a closed-door meeting on February 27 after most of her stock transactions had been completed.
Burr, who is chairman of the Intelligence Committee, sold between$628,000 and $1.72 million of shares on February 13, a week before the market went down.
Loeffler sold between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000 worth of shares starting on January 24 through mid-February She also made two purchases of shares belonging to Citrix, a company that makes remote workplace software, and Oracle, one of the leading business network software producers.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) may have, along with Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) traded on inside information on the severity of COVID-19 before the public knew that information. (Photo: Wall Street Journal)
While both were selling off stocks prior to the markets’ decline, the senators were engaged in informing the public about the virus, Burr joining Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in assuring the public that steps were being taken to mitigate the virus’ impact. Loeffler, for her part, went to Twitter to accuse Democrats of downplaying the potential threat of coronavirus.
It is illegal for anyone, including sitting members of Congress, to use information not available to the public to inform trading decisions.
In a statement early Friday, Burr’s spokesperson did not address the reason for the selloffs: “Senator Burr filed a financial disclosure form for personal transactions made several weeks before the U.S. and financial markets showed signs of volatility due to the growing coronavirus outbreak,” the spokesperson said.
Loeffler's office did not immediately respond to a request from ACV Reports for comment. On Fox News "America's Newsroom," she said the transactions were conducted by her investment advisor, who did not inform her of the purchases or sales until just recently.
On his prime time show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News Thursday, Carlson demanded Burr explain himself or "he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading."
"He had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening, but he didn't warn the public . . . Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money,"
Any action taken by the Senate against Burr and Loeffler will originate in the Senate Ethics Committee. Neither senator has had a reaction to Carlson’s comments.