Is it a coincidence that two senators dumped stocks before the market dropped?
ProPublica reported on Thursday that Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold a large number of stocks before the market dropped. The timing could have been coincidental, but it sure looks as if the Senator knew that the coronavirus would affect the markets and wanted to cash out.
Another Republican senator, Kelly Loeffler from Georgia, also sold significant stock holdings immediately after senators had a private meeting to discuss the coronavirus. As with Burr, it may be a coincidence, but it smells terrible.
According to a Thursday Pro Publica report,
Soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus, the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions.
As the head of the intelligence committee, Burr, a North Carolina Republican, has access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security. His committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings around this time, according to a Reuters story.
A week after Burr’s sales, the stock market began a sharp decline and has lost about 30% since.
On Thursday, Burr came under fire after NPR obtained a secret recording from Feb. 27, in which the lawmaker gave a VIP group at an exclusive social club a much more dire preview of the economic impact of the coronavirus than what he had told the public.
Later that same day, The Daily Beast revealed that Sen. Loeffler, who entered the Senate in January and instantly became the wealthiest person there, also sold off stocks before the public learned how significant the Chinese Virus’s reach was:
The Senate’s newest member sold off seven figures worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks after a private, all-senators meeting on the novel coronavirus that subsequently hammered U.S. equities.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) reported the first sale of stock jointly owned by her and her husband on Jan. 24, the very day that her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials, including the CDC director and Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Health of the United States, on the coronavirus.
“Appreciate today’s briefing from the President’s top health officials on the novel coronavirus outbreak,” she tweeted about the briefing at the time.
In another not so coincidental coincidence, Burr and Loeffler sat next to each other during the impeachment hearings:
New profile pic. pic.twitter.com/mvArg4RNar— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) January 22, 2020
Unless the Senators have a good excuse, the timing on their stock sales looks bad. Insider trading happens when people who possess knowledge available only to those with an inside track use that information to buy stocks that will rise in value or to sell those that will fall. It’s incredibly sleazy, it’s a breach of fiduciary duty, it can create artificial drops or rises in the market, and it’s illegal.
Siraj Hashmi got it just right when he said that, when Charlie Kirk, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Tucker Carlson all sound the same note about you, you know you’ve made a huge mistake. In this case, when news broke about Burr, all of them called for him to resign and await an investigation that could lead to prosecution.
When you got Charlie Kirk, AOC, and Tucker Carlson all agreeing with each other, you f**ked up bigly. https://t.co/SjD4xM4xu3— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) March 20, 2020
In addition to being disgusted, Charlie Kirk wasn’t all that surprised, noting that Burr has been nothing but a Burr in the saddle when it came to Trump’s efforts to end the Deep State:
Is anyone really surprised by this coming from Burr?— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) March 20, 2020
He held up multiple Trump nominees
He’s delaying the confirmation of John Ratcliffe as DNI
And he unfairly grilled @DonaldJTrumpJr for hours over the Russian Collusion Hoax
This new revelation isn’t that shocking to me. https://t.co/YE5XUjEynv
I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) March 20, 2020
If you trade with inside info to enrich yourself during a crisis you are a disgrace
Resign, apologize, and donate all earnings to families of victims of China Virus
The Ruling class is a disgrace to a suffering America right now
If Loeffler and Burr did indeed engage in insider trading, they stand as a reminder again that, while the left is the primary problem in American governance, the government itself is a problem. The fact that politicians of any party will seize opportunities to empower or enrich themselves as the public’s expense is a stark reminder that Lord Acton was correct when he wrote in 1897 that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The way to clean up Washington isn’t to follow Bernie’s and other leftists’ lead by increasing government power and placing it in different, more leftist, hands. It is, instead, to do what Trump is trying to do, which is to shrink the government and force it to disgorge the ridiculous amount of power it has already consolidated.