Five United States senators, four Republicans and one Democrat, stand accused of insider trading this morning after dumping millions of dollars in stocks – some in industries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic – before the outbreak shook the market.
Republicans Richard Burr (R-NC), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Democrat Diane Feinstein (D-CA) sold substantial stock-holdings after the Senate Intelligence Committee held a classified briefing about COVID-19 at the end of January.
Pundits on both sides of the aisle are calling for their proverbial heads if the allegations are proven.
Burr chairs the Intelligence Committee. He dumped between $628,000 and $1.72 million on February 13.
Feinstein, the Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, jettisoned between $1.5 million and $6 million previously invested in biotech company Allogene Therapeutics between the day of the meeting and February 18.
Loeffler also attended the meeting and reportedly sold between $50,001 and $100,000 worth of stock in Resideo Technologies. The price of Resideo has plummeted since the market’s coronavirus slide began. Loeffler also made two dozen stock sales, which included purchasing between $100,00 and $250,000 worth of shares in Citrix. The multinational software company, which specializes in telecommuting technology, has seen a five percent uptick in value since her purchase.
Loeffler is married to Jeffrey Sprecher – the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
Around the same time, Inhofe sold nearly $200,000 in stocks.
Johnson officially disclosed on a United States Senate Financial Disclosure that he sold between $5 and $25 million in his share of his family’s privately-held company, Pacur LLC, on March 2.
However, Johnson vigorously defended his decision, calling it a multi-year initiative starting in 2018.
The reaction has been highly critical. (New York Daily News)
Hearing from sources close to President Trump that Burr needs to resign. https://t.co/gMySUxeFO9
— John Santucci (@Santucci) March 20, 2020
If Burr quits, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would appoint a replacement who would serve until the November general election, but it would have to be a Republican.
Burr was one of just three senators to vote against a 2012 law banning lawmakers from trading on information they receive through their official capacities.