from the what-an-amazing-stroke-of-luck! dept
Senator Richard Burr’s potential insider trading issues, for which he’s being investigated, may have gotten quite a bit worse this week. A new report notes that on the same day Burr sold off a “significant percentage” of his stock holdings (while also telling the public not to worry about COVID-19), it turns out his brother-in-law just coincidentally decided to dump a bunch of stock too. Amazing!
Sen. Richard Burr was not the only member of his family to sell off a significant portion of his stock holdings in February, ahead of the market crash spurred by coronavirus fears. On the same day Burr sold, his brother-in-law also dumped tens of thousands of dollars worth of shares. The market fell by more than 30% in the subsequent month.
Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, who has a post on the National Mediation Board, sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies — including several that have been hit particularly hard in the market swoon and economic downturn.
Could this actually be a coincidence? Sure. Maybe. But the timing (the very same day…) does seem notable. As the ProPublica report notes, Fauth “is not a frequent stock trader.” Burr insists that his sales were based on public information, though it’s difficult to see how he could simply ignore the classified briefings he got concerning the rising pandemic issues, and base decisions entirely on public information. Indeed, this is why government officials should be required to hand off any equities like this to a blind trust where they have no visibility into how it’s traded.
Even if this is all legal (which is not certain either way yet…), it again reinforces the belief that the powerful live by different rules and are able to game the system for personal advantage, even as they’re supposed to be serving the public interest.