FBI Serves Search Warrant on Senator Who Dumped Stock

Richard Burr was privy to confidential coronavirus briefings at the time
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2020 12:43 AM CDT
FBI Serves Search Warrant on Senator Who Dumped Stock
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., listens to testimony before the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, Tuesday, May 12, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

One of the senators who sold off stock after confidential briefings on the coronavirus in early February is now under investigation by the FBI. The bureau served a search warrant on Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Wednesday, per the Los Angeles Times. The North Carolina Republican asked the Senate Ethics Committee to review the stock sale after it started making headlines and has said he relied only on publicly available information to make his stock decisions. The Justice Department opened an investigation into his actions at the end of March, and the FBI move followed. Agents seized his cellphone after searching his Washington-area residence, per a law enforcement official.

The investigation is probing whether Burr violated a law barring lawmakers from making any trades based on insider information they learned via their work in Congress. ProPublica reports Burr's brother-in-law also sold off a significant portion of his stock holdings on the same day, before the coronavirus crisis caused the stock market to plunge. Three other senators also sold off stocks, but Burr is currently the only one under DOJ investigation. Another one of the four, fellow Republican Kelly Loeffler, said Tuesday on Fox News that scrutiny of her move is "a 100% political attack" and that she did nothing wrong. She has said in the past that her holdings are managed by outside investment advisors. (It has been said that the other two sell-offs were not actually suspicious.)

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