SENATOR Richard Burr dumped stocks right before the coronavirus crash – but he wasn't the only member of his family to sell his shares, reports say.
His brother-in-law also shed a significant portion of his stocks back in February ahead of the COVID-19-induced market plunge, according to ProPublica.
Burr and his lawyers insist he relied only on public information, which spurred him on to dump the shares.
The North Carolina politician undertook 33 separate transactions to unload between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his own holdings on February 13.
That day, Gerald Fauth – who is married to Burr's sister, Mary Fauth – sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies.
ProPublica notes that several of these businesses were pummeled during the resulting crisis which saw the market sink by 30 percent.
Fauth avoided between $37,000 and $118,000 in losses, according to Luke Brindle-Khym, who is a partner and general counsel of investigative firm QRI in Manhattan.
Burr wrote that the US "today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus" in a Fox News opinion piece on February 7.
His coincidental stock sale resulted in allegations of insider trading and calls for him to resign his post, as well as prompting an investigation by the FBI.
But NPR obtained a recording of Burr warning people at an exclusive social club that the virus could stop travel, shutter schools, overwhelm the healthcare system, and result in military mobilization.
Before the virus pummeled the US economy, Fauth or his wife sold between $15,001 and $50,000 of Altria stocks, the tobacco company.
They got rid of between $50,001 and $100,000 of Mondelez International stocks, between $1,001 and $15,000 of Williams-Sonoma stocks, as well as stakes in multiple oil companies.
Burr's attorney, Alice Fisher of Latham & Watkins, told The Sun he "participated in the stock market based on public information and he did not coordinate his decision to trade on February 13 with Mr. Fauth.”
Burr had access to intelligence information as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a health committee member before the market tanked amid virus fears.
Members of Congress are prohibited from trading stocks based on classified information they've acquired in their jobs.
Burr also sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
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