U.S. Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, made headlines Thursday morning when it was revealed three weeks ago he warned a business group just how devastating coronavirus would be, but did not warn the general public. Now ProPublica reports as Burr, the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, was receiving daily reports about the severity of the impending pandemic he was publicly claiming the federal government was prepared, but appears to have cashed in, selling up to $1.6 million of stock.
The stock markets have crashed over the past week, with the DOW dropping about 30 percent from its 52-week high, which was reached just a month ago.
In a series of 29 transactions Chairman Burr “sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $582,029 and $1.56 million of his holdings on Feb. 13,” ProPublica reports.
Burr “has access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security,” and was receiving daily coronavirus briefings.
Publicly, Burr told Americans there was no reason to be concerned about the federal government’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a February 7 op-ed, he wrote that “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.” He added: “No matter the outbreak or threat, Congress and the federal government have been vigilant in identifying gaps in its readiness efforts and improving its response capabilities.”
Those claims now appear to be false.
Burr’s office denies any wrongdoing.
“Senator Burr filed a financial disclosure form for personal transactions made several weeks before the U.S. and financial markets showed signs of volatility due to the growing coronavirus outbreak,” his spokesperson told ProPublica. “As the situation continues to evolve daily, he has been deeply concerned by the steep and sudden toll this pandemic is taking on our economy.”
Read the entire ProBublica report here.
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