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Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr during a Senate hearing on May. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

FBI agents investigating Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) over his mass sell-off of stocks seized a phone belonging to the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman after serving a search warrant Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Why it matters: Burr was hit with a federal lawsuit in late March over the sell-off that preceded a market crash caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He dumped between $582,029 and $1.56 million, ProPublica reported that month. Burr has strenuously denied any wrongdoing. His spokesperson declined to comment to Axios on the report.

  • The Department of Justice began an inquiry into Burr's stock transactions in late March in coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • His 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 reported on Wednesday.

Flashback: Reuters reported on Feb. 27 that Burr had been receiving daily updates from the intelligence community about the outbreak in his role as Senate Intelligence Committee chairman.

  • NPR reported later that Burr told a private luncheon of constituents that day the coronavirus is "much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history."
  • He asked the Senate Ethics Committee in March to review his sell-off, saying did so because he "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."
— Burr

Of note: In 2012, Burr was one of three senators to oppose a bill that would explicitly bar Congress members and their staff from using non-public information for personal benefit, including stock-trading.

Editor's note: This is article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

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Treasury begins dispersing $350 billion in COVID relief funding to states and localities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Monday began giving state and local governments access to $350 billion in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan, the department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though the money is aimed at helping state, local, territorial and tribal governments recover from the pandemic's economic fallout, the administration will generally give them wide latitude on how they can use the funds.

Game developers break silence around salaries

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Developers are sharing their salaries on Twitter under the hashtag #GameDevPaidMe to encourage pay transparency in their industry.

The big picture: The hashtag started circulating last year, but has returned periodically as developers fight for better working conditions. Salary sharing is a way to equalize the field. By removing the secrecy, as well as the stigma, around discussing pay, workers have more power to advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries and raises.

2 hours ago - World

Jerusalem crisis: Hamas fires rockets, Israel begins military campaign

Palestinian protesters and an Israeli police officer near the Damascus Gate. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Days of tension in Jerusalem escalated into an exchange of fire on Monday, as Hamas fired dozens of rockets toward Israel and the Israeli military responded with strikes of its own and said it was preparing for a military operation that could last several days.

Why it matters: This is the first time Hamas has fired rockets at Jerusalem since 2014, and it's the most serious escalation between the Israelis and Palestinians in many months. It comes during the most sensitive days on the calendar — the last days of Ramadan and the Jerusalem Day commemoration on Monday — and as political crises roil both the Israeli and Palestinian governments.