Shareholder Files Lawsuit Against Sen. Richard Burr Over Stock Sales

March 24, 2020 Updated: March 24, 2020
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A shareholder filed a lawsuit against Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) over stock sales that were made after Burr received closed-door briefings on the threat of the new CCP virus in early February.

Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million of his stocks on Feb. 13, according to Senate financial disclosures. A week later, the stock market began to decline as the new virus spread.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mishandling allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

The biggest sales from Burr included stocks from Wyndham Hotels and Resort and Extended Stay America, which have both seen decreased values in recent weeks.

Wyndham shareholder Alan Jacobson said in the new lawsuit (pdf) that Burr committed “acts of securities fraud” and abused “his powers as a U.S. Senator.”

The stock sales were made for Burr’s personal gain, Jacobson alleged, after learning of nonpublic information on which he based his stock trades.

Jacobson is seeking compensatory damages.

Burr claimed that he “relied solely on public reporting to guide my decision to sell the stock,” including reports from CNBC’s Asia bureaus.

He asked the Senate Ethics Committee to probe the sales, saying an independent review “is warranted to ensure full and complete transparency.”

Ethics Chairman Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) hasn’t announced whether a probe will be conducted, nor has Ethics Ranking Member Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). Neither returned requests for comment.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber