Bill Barr Puts Swamp On Notice, Opens Probe Into Senator’s Stock Trades Before Crash: Report
Bill Barr just sent shockwaves through the swamp and politicians on both sides of the aisle are calling their lawyers.
Barr and the Justice Department just opened a probe into the weird stock trades a few Senators made right before the crash.
GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma and Richard Burr from North Carolina are the ones feeling the heat.
The report says that so far only Burr has been contacted by investigators.
From The Hill:
CNN reported Sunday that the inquiry, which was launched in cooperation with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), is still in its early stages, according to two people familiar with the matter. However, at least one lawmaker, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), has been contacted by investigators, according to CNN.
Burr is one of four senators who sold thousands of dollars’ worth of stock in the days before the stock market began a historical downturn amid nationwide travel and work restrictions implemented to stop the spread of coronavirus, as well as reports of jobless claims jumping to historic levels due to the crisis.
A spokeswoman for the North Carolina senator insisted that Burr used no nonpublic information when making his financial decisions, as is required by the STOCK Act, and pointed to the Senate ethics inquiry Burr had requested upon news of the trades becoming public in a comment to CNN.
“The law is clear that any American — including a Senator — may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did. When this issue arose, Senator Burr immediately asked the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a complete review, and he will cooperate with that review as well as any other appropriate inquiry,” said Alice Fisher, Burr’s lawyer.
Burr, she added, “welcomes a thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate.”
Spokespeople for the Justice Department, the FBI and the SEC declined to comment.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday morning, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton would not confirm the inquiry, but sent a warning about trading with private information.
“Anyone who is privy to private information about a company or about markets needs to be cautious about how they use that private information. That’s fundamental to our securities laws and that applies to government employees, public officials, etc, and the Stock Act codifies that,” Clayton said.
Burr’s sales represent a sizable share of his portfolio of stocks, according to his latest Senate financial disclosure documents filed in May 2019, although exact numbers aren’t possible because lawmakers only report trades as a range of dollar values.