DOJ Drops Insider Trading Probe into Sen. Richard Burr

DOJ Drops Insider Trading Probe into Sen. Richard Burr
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) speaks during a hearing in Washington on Sept. 23, 2020. (Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) announced Tuesday that the Justice Department (DOJ) has closed its probe into stocks sold around the time he had received closed-door briefings on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus in January 2020.

“Tonight, the Department of Justice informed me that it has concluded its review of my personal financial transactions conducted early last year,” 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.”

Burr, who stepped down as former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid the probe, sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million of his stocks in more than 30 transactions on Feb. 13, 2020, with his wife, according to Senate financial disclosures. A week later, the stock market began to decline.

The biggest sales from Burr included stocks from Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, a company that has lost significant value amid the pandemic, and shares of Extended Stay America, a hospitality chain that has also seen a decrease in value amid the spread of the CCP virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Burr in May last year was served a search warrant by the FBI, who showed up at his Washington-area home and seized his cellphone as part of the ongoing investigation.

He denied any wrongdoing at the time, maintaining that he relied “solely on public news reports,” to make the transactions. Burr said he used CNBC’s reports coming out of Asia to make the decisions.

His attorney, Alice Fisher, described the probe as a “thorough review” and said Burr, who has said he will not seek reelection when his term ends in 2022, would remain focused on “the safety and security of North Carolinians and the United States as a whole.”

The DOJ didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

Last year, the department separately dropped investigations into stock trades made by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) in the early weeks of the CCP virus pandemic, according to reports.
Feinstein, Loeffler, and Inhofe, who were heavily scrutinized for selling stocks around the time they were receiving closed-door briefings on the CCP virus in January 2020, were notified on May 26 last year that they are no longer under investigation by the DOJ, the offices of Feinstein, Loeffler, and Inhofe later confirmed with Politico.
Under the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, lawmakers and their aides are prohibited from using “non-public information” obtained through their official duties to make a private profit, including insider trading.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
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