Two GOP senators are in hot water for selling seven figures of stock holdings before the novel coronavirus crushed the U.S. stock market. Both senators had access to critical information regarding the possible impact of the virus as early as January 24th . Records reveal that the two government officials unloaded their equity assets weeks after the all-senators meeting.
Republican Senator Richard Burr is now facing resignation calls after ProPublica revealed that he dumped millions worth of stocks in 33 separate transactions just before the stock market tanked.
Burr, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has access to highly classified information regarding threats against national security. The senator also received daily coronavirus briefings around the time he sold his equity .
In a February 7th article that he wrote for Fox News , Burr stated,
Thankfully, the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus, in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress, and the Trump Administration.
Meanwhile, the Republican senator warned attendees of a luncheon organized by the Tar Heel Circle that the novel coronavirus is comparable to the 1918 pandemic. Burr said:
There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history
He also told attendees that the virus could limit the travel of employees, shut down schools, and overwhelm hospitals.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, the richest member of Congress worth an estimated $500 million, reported her first sale of stock on January 24th. That’s the same day that the Senate Health Committee hosted the all-senators briefing on the coronavirus per The Daily Beast.
Between January 24th and February 14th, Loeffler dumped anywhere from $1.25 million to $3.1 million worth of equity jointly owned with her husband. The 15 stocks that Loeffler reported to have sold have shed a third of their value on average since she unloaded them.
The Republican Senator also invested in work-from-home company Citrix. The company’s stock price has been surging and bucking the overall negative investor sentiment due to the coronavirus.
Loeffler is Jeffrey Sprecher’s wife. He’s the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and the chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange. That’s NYSE’s parent company.