Republican Senator Richard Burr, an oftentimes Never Trumper- was given a gift when Democrat Joe Biden took over Washington DC. Burr made an announcement in Jan. 2020 that he had been given a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card”.
ABC News reported:
“North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and his brother-in-law are under investigation for insider trading”
NBC News reported:
“Before his sell-off, Burr had assured the public that the federal government was well prepared to handle the virus.” https://t.co/VZ4vTLdTi1
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) October 28, 2021
“Justice Dept. Ends Stock Trade Inquiry Into Richard Burr Without Charges Law enforcement officials told the senator that they would not pursue charges over his dumping of hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock after Senate coronavirus briefings early in the pandemic.”
The decision by the department effectively cleared a cloud of legal jeopardy that has loomed over Mr. Burr since the sales were first disclosed in March. At the crux of the case was whether Mr. Burr, then the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had acted based on nonpublic information about the contagion that he received at senators-only briefings.
“Tonight, the Department of Justice informed me that it has concluded its review of my personal financial transactions conducted early last year,” Mr. Burr said in a statement. “The case is now closed. I’m glad to hear it. My focus has been and will continue to be working for the people of North Carolina during this difficult time for our nation.”
It was not immediately clear whether the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was also investigating Mr. Burr’s trades, had closed its case as well. The Justice Department had shared its decision with Mr. Burr’s lawyer, Alice Fisher.”
TWISTS AND TURNS
Apparently, Burr is not off the hook, as he announced he was.
BREAKING: SEC says Sen. Richard Burr had material nonpublic info re COVID economic impact. After Burr dumped the stock, he called his brother-in-law. His brother-in-law called his stockbroker **the next minute**
BREAKING: SEC says Sen. Richard Burr had material nonpublic info re COVID economic impact.
After Burr dumped stock, he called his brother-in-law.
His brother-in-law called his stock broker **the next minute** https://t.co/EiXjZ4oPS4
— Robert Faturechi (@RobertFaturechi) October 28, 2021
According to CNBC, the SEC didn’t drop the case after all. They reported:
- Sen. Richard Burr and his brother-in-law spoke on the phone shortly before both men sold off stocks weeks ahead of national Covid lockdowns in 2020, the SEC says in a court filing.
- The SEC’s probe is focused on the timing of trades in February 2020, after Burr and other members of Congress were briefed on the danger of the coronavirus pandemic spreading to the United States.
- Burr’s brother-in-law Gerald Fauth is chairman of the National Mediation Board.
- Burr announced in January that the Justice Department had informed him that it closed its investigation without filing criminal charges against him.
Attorneys for Burr as well as for Gerald Fauth, who is the brother of Burr’s wife, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Burr has previously denied any wrongdoing.
The filings stem from a case brought by the SEC to force Fauth to comply with a subpoena. The agency argued that his close relationship with Burr and a phone call between the two, followed by calls to Fauth’s brokers, made his testimony “critical.”
“Whether Fauth was himself tipped with inside information from Senator Burr, and whether Fauth knew Senator Burr was violating his duties under the STOCK Act by conveying that information, are matters Fauth is uniquely positioned to speak to,” the SEC said in a filing.
To bolster their case, SEC attorneys released a timeline of phone calls from Feb. 13, 2020, the day Burr sold off the vast majority of his portfolio. It was roughly one week before the stock market went into a tailspin.
At the time Burr had “material nonpublic information concerning Covid-19 and its potential impact on the U.S. and global economies” some of which he “learned through his position” as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and from former staffers directing the government’s coronavirus response, the SEC alleges in the court filing.
That day, after Burr instructed his own broker to sell, he spoke with Fauth in a call that lasted 50 seconds.
One minute later, the court document states, Fauth called one of his brokers. Two minutes later, he called another broker and gave instructions to sell shares in his wife’s account.
Later that day, Burr, who was staying at the Fauths’ home in suburban Washington, logged into his online brokerage account from an IP address registered to Fauth’s wife, court records state.
Burr has drawn perhaps the most scrutiny of all members of Congress for his trades in the early days of the pandemic. He was captured in a recording privately warning a group of influential constituents in early 2020 to prepare for economic devastation.
Burr denied trading on private information, but stepped aside from his position as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after the FBI obtained a search warrant to seize a cellphone.
Burr is not seeking reelection next year. He was elected to the Senate in 2004 after a 10-year run in the House.
The STOCK Act, the statute under which Burr and Fauth are being investigated, was passed with bipartisan support in 2012 following a congressional stock-trading scandal. It was cheered by government ethics groups and watchdogs as a long-overdue step.
But in the nearly decade since, no one has been convicted under the law. Meanwhile, congressional stock trading has continued apace.