If it isn’t suspicious enough that Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina dumped millions of dollars worth of stocks a week before the economic trash fire ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic, new information has come to light that he advised his in-law to do the same.
According to a new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Burr spoke with brother-in-law Gerald Fauth for a little less than a minute, but long enough for Fauth to immediately hang up and call his broker and sell between $97,000 and $280,00 worth of shares in six companies.
Per reporting by ProPublica, Fauth, a member of the National Mediation Board, dumped his stocks the same day as Burr, but the new information was released in an effort by the SEC to impel Fauth into complying with a subpoena he’s stalled on for more than a year. He claims to have a medical condition that inhibits him from complying.
The new SEC filing indicates that there’s an ongoing investigation of insider trading by both Burr and Fauth, accusing Fauth of “a relentless battle” to elude the subpoena, and alleging that Burr had private information about the economic tsunami poised to hit the U.S. in the wake of the pandemic based on his role at the time as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as through staffers who were intimately involved in the government’s response to the virus.
Burr sold off between $628,000 and $1.72 million in stocks on Feb. 13 in 33 transactions, according to ProPublica.
But the most egregious of his actions was lying to the public about how well the pandemic was being handled, even writing an op-ed on Feb. 7 assuring Americans that “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus, in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress and the Trump Administration.” And we all know how that turned out—741,000 people are dead in the U.S. in large part due to the lack of handling from former two-time impeached, one-term President Donald “It’s Going to Go Away” Trump.
Also, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR, Burr warned a group of bigwigs at a social club of the coming economic disaster that would hit thanks to the coronavirus.
“There's one thing that I can tell you about this. It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything we've seen in recent history. It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic,” Burr said.
“As the chairman of the intel committee, there's no message I could come with today that would have been uplifting,” he added. “Every company should be cognizant of the fact that you may have to alter your travel. You may have to look at your employees and judge whether the trip they're making to Europe is essential or whether it can be done in a video conference. Why risk it?”
Of course, Burr denies he used his inside information and claims he made his stock decisions based on public information.