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Justice Department Continues Probe Into Sen. Richard Burr’s Stock Selloffs

The entire inquiry comes from a federal lawsuit, which alleged that he had sold off a massive block of stocks before the coronavirus pandemic caused the stock market to crash.
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The Department of Justice has provided an update into its investigation of several Congress members after they engaged in what appeared to be improper trading activities.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors will be dropping probes into Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA). However, it will continue its probe of Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

Proof Against Burr Racks Up

Burr’s reputation has taken a bit of a hit as a result of the investigations. He recently announced that he’d be stepping down as the Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairperson, pending the results of the inquiry.

The entire inquiry comes from a federal lawsuit, which alleged that he had sold off a massive block of stocks before the coronavirus pandemic caused the stock market to crash.

The suit alleged that he dumped between $650,000 and $1.7 million across 33 stocks, while his brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, also reportedly dumped up to $280,000 in shares on the same day.

Both have denied any wrongdoing. However, the Justice Department eventually began the inquiry, looking especially into his stock transactions in late March with collaboration from the securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Burr, in his role as Intelligence Committee Chairman, had received daily updates about the outbreak, Reuters reported in February. NPR also reported that he had held a private luncheon of his constituents and told them that the virus had been more aggressive than anything they had ever seen.

The FBI proceeded to seize his phone earlier this month as part of the investigation, prompting him to step down from his role on the Intelligence Committee.

The Others in the Case

Loeffler, the Senator from Georgia, also received a significant amount of scrutiny over her trades. The Senator, who previously served as the chief executive of cryptocurrency investment company Bakkt, came under fire after an exclusive from the Daily Beast confirmed that she had used privileged information from a meeting to make trades.

As the report explained, Loeffler attended a meeting with the Senate Health Committee on the coronavirus. On the same day, she and her husband – Jeffrey Sprecher, the chief executive of the Intercontinental Exchange – initiated stock selloffs.

The Daily Beast confirmed that one of the firms Loeffler pulled out of was Resideo Technologies – a firm whose stock slid 50 percent in the weeks after the sale. While Loeffler alluded the actions to third-parties who traded on her behalf, the timing seemed suspicious.

Disclosure documents showed that Loeffler and Sprecher had sold between $1 million to $2.49 million in stocks. Feinstein’s disclosure report showed that she sold between $1 million and $5 million, while Inhofe reportedly sold between $50,000 and $100,000 in stock.

So far, the accused have denied any wrongdoing in the past, and this exoneration leaves them free to continue with their work. Burr, however, isn’t out of the woods just yet.

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Based in the UK, Jimmy is an economic researcher with outstanding hands-on and heads-on experience in Macroeconomic finance analysis, forecasting and planning. He has honed his skills having worked cross-continental as a finance analyst, which gives him inter-cultural experience. He currently has a strong passion for regulation and macroeconomic trends as it allows him peek under the global bonnet to see how the world works. jimmy@moneycheck.com

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