WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., is asking for an ethics probe in response to criticism he sold off as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the market dropped in February amid coronavirus fears.

Senate records show Sen. Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to fall and as government health officials began to issue stark warnings about the effects of the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.

In a statement Friday morning, Sen. Burr said he had asked for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the matter, “understanding the assumption many could make in hindsight.”

Sen. Burr said he relied “solely on public news reports,” specifically CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus, to make the financial decisions.

There is no indication Sen. Burr had any inside information as he sold the stocks. The intelligence panel did not have any briefings on the pandemic the week when most of the stocks were sold, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person declined to be identified to discuss confidential committee activity.

The stock sales were first reported by ProPublica and The Center for Responsive Politics. Most of them came Feb. 13, just before Sen. Burr made a speech in Washington, D.C., in which he predicted severe consequences from the virus, including closed schools and cutbacks in company travel, according to audio obtained by National Public Radio and released Thursday.

Sen. Burr told the small North Carolina State Society audience the virus was “much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history” and “probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic."

Sen. Burr’s remarks were much more dire than remarks he had made publicly, and came as President Donald Trump was still downplaying the severity of the virus.

In a tweet on Thursday, Sen. Burr said that Americans were already being warned about the effects of the virus when he made the speech to the North Carolina State Society.

“The message I shared with my constituents is the one public health officials urged all of us to heed as coronavirus spread increased,” Sen. Burr wrote. “Be prepared.”

The North Carolina senator was not the only lawmaker to sell off stocks just before the steep decline due to the global pandemic. Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a new senator who is up for reelection this year, sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in late January, as senators began to get briefings on the virus, also according to Senate records.

In the weeks that followed, Sen. Loeffler urged her constituents to have faith in the Trump administration's efforts to prepare the nation.

“@realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe,” Sen. Loeffler tweeted Feb. 27.

The Daily Beast first reported Sen. Loeffler dropped the stock in late January. The senator is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange.

In a tweet early Friday morning, Sen. Loeffler said the report was a “ridiculous & baseless attack" and she doesn't make investment decisions for her portfolio.

“Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband's knowledge or involvement,” she tweeted.

She wrote she was informed of the decisions three weeks after they were made.

(9) comments


LOL, sounds legit :-/

David Collins

Yeah , the blind trust thing is basically true . Could be wrong but aren’t they all required to do it ? Now , the question is , just how blind is blind ? In theory the trust is a fiduciary that acts in the clients best interest only . Couple that with zero input from the owner of the trust and things look on the up and up . Due to human nature and we are talking about their wealth here , some fudging of the rules has been known to happen in the past . Just the way life is .

Another thing that bothers me is that the two democrats that did the same thing at about the same time have received precious little to no press coverage at all . Just the Republicans . This stinks of partisan reporting all over again . Just like when Pelosi had advance notice of Visa going public and used that knowledge to profit on the bump . That was insider info. . Not hardly a word was said . If you or I did that charges would have been filed in a New York second . Gotta love politics .


Send a criminal, civilian and political investigators to review the information of ALL who have done this and charge appropriately, regardless of what party.


Waste of time & $ like most congressional inquiries. Nothing will come of it. Most if not all have probably done it. It's one of the reasons they become career politicians & millionaires while doing a great job serving you the people. Ask old Harry. You know Waters, Pelosi & their ilk would never do such a thing though right. Wasn't a new passed when they got caught? Then they slipped a loophole in the middle of the night. These people have no honor. Pork for abortions & any other hair on fire progressive/socialist pork laden garbage while trying to get relief to workers. No honor!


Character Counts !!! Burr put his financial well being ahead of the safety of his constituents. The man is a disgrace and needs to removed from office.

David Collins

Having the house or senate investigate themselves is totally nuts. In fact , I know of no agency or private law firms that are a-political enough to do the job properly . Sooooooo , doubt that anything will come from anything . Should any have a development of conscience and resign , they will still enjoy their pension . Should a illegal act be discovered and proven to be true , impeachment , meaningful fines and forfeiture of all pay and benefits should be imposed . Ain’t gonna happen so move on .



Big Fat Drunk Republican

Nothing to see here. Just move along. I mean, I mean a Democrat did it too in some other state and since the local paper isn’t making a deal out of that, I think it’s partisan politics.

Just look at it this way.whats the point of getting upset here in NC if one of our senators breaks the law.

We must look to what others think.

Has Trump, Hannity or Rush called for his firing yet?



Yeah, it's a waste of time to investigate this moral, upright, religious man. I mean after all, I'm sure it was just good financial instincts for him to sell that particular stock at that particular time, nothing to see here.

This my friends is a GOP politician in a nutshell. Burr starts as a salesman for a lawn equipment company, goes into politics, and a few terms later is being investigated for selling a million and half of (soon to be worthless) stock based on his inside information. Why aren't any of you Trumpers asking how Burr was able to acquire $1.5 million of stock after moving from a salesman to politician? The ignorance of the masses never ceases to amaze.

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