(Bloomberg) Senator Richard Burr has called for an ethics investigation into himself and three other senators who sold off stock after receiving classified briefings on the coronavirus threat.
Burr—a North Carolina Republican who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee—sold up to $1.72 million in stock through Feb. 13, shortly before reassuring the public that the government had a handle on the coronavirus response. A week later, the S&P 500 Index started what would become a 30% drop, wiping out most gains made since President Donald Trump's inauguration.
In a tweet on Friday, Burr denied any wrongdoing, saying that he “relied solely on public news reports” to inform his decisions.
Here’s what he sold:
Axalta Coating Systems
Bank of New York Mellon
Park Hotels & Resorts
Extended Stay America
Orion Engineered Carbons
Another senator under scrutiny, Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler, sold off millions of dollars worth of stock beginning on Jan. 24, the day the health committee she sits on was briefed by U.S. public-health officials.
If Loeffler—who is married to New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher—had held onto those stocks, she would have lost up to $1.5 million:
Discover Financial Services
Kirkland Lake Gold
Other senators including Dianne Feinstein—a Democrat from California—and Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, also sold assets after the Jan. 24 briefing. In tweets, Feinstein and Inhofe both denied attending the meeting. Feinstein added that her assets were held in a blind trust, while Inhofe called allegations of wrongdoing "baseless" and "false."