May 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Intel chair's brother-in-law also dumped stock before market crash

In this image, Burr reaches for hand sanitizer

Richard Burr reaches for hand sanitizer at a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on May 5. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr's (R-N.C.) brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, dumped up to $280,000 in shares on the same day as the senator, according to documents published by ProPublica on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Burr was hit with a federal lawsuit in late March over his mass sell-off of stock holdings that preceded a market crash caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He dumped between $582,029 and $1.56 million, ProPublica reported in March.

  • The Department of Justice began an inquiry into Burr's stock transactions in late March in coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CNN first reported. The AP and the Washington Post later confirmed the story.

What's new: Fauth, appointed to the National Mediation Board by President Trump, sold stock in major oil companies Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Mondelez International, Williams-Sonoma and Altria on February 13, a transaction report obtained by ProPublica shows.

  • He dumped between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares that day.

The oil industry has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic, as travel sags and oil prices make historic drops in the face of unwanted crude.

Flashback: Prior to the March lawsuit, Burr asked the Senate Ethics Committee to review his stock sales. He claimed that the trades were made because he "closely followed CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time."

What they're saying: “Senator Burr participated in the stock market based on public information and he did not coordinate his decision to trade on February 13 with Mr. Fauth," Alice Fisher, Burr's attorney, said in a statement to Axios.

Go deeper: Senate Intel chair sold up to $1.6 million in stock before market crash

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