Mar 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Burr asks Senate Ethics Committee to open probe into his stock trades

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr
Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) asked the Senate Ethics Committee on Friday to review his recent stock sell-offs.

What he's saying: Burr claimed that the trades, which came before the market crashed amid coronavirus fears, occurred because he "closely followed CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time."

"I relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision regarding the sale of stocks on February 13. Specifically, I closely followed CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time. Understanding the assumption many could make in hindsight, however, I spoke this morning with the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and asked him to open a complete review of the matter with full transparency."

The state of play: Burr sold between $582,029 and $1.56 million of his stocks on Feb. 13, days after writing a Fox News op-ed that said the U.S. is "better prepared than ever before" to face the coronavirus outbreak.

  • The sales included stocks in several companies that were set to be hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, including in the hotel and hospitality industries.
  • Reuters reported on Feb. 27 that, as Senate Intel chairman, Burr had been receiving daily updates from the intelligence community about the outbreak.
  • He also told a private luncheon of constituents in February that the coronavirus is "much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history."

Read Burr's letter.

Go deeper: Trump brushes off coronavirus as reason for stock market plunge

Go deeper