On March 25, 2020, I wrote about a lawsuit filed against North Carolina Senator Richard Burr over his dumping of stocks in the early days of the covid-19 pandemic. In the complaint, a shareholder of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts alleged that Senator Burr sold his stock portfolio based on non-public “insider” information. In late February 2020, Burr, who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned wealthy constituents about the potential for major disruptions to the economy due to continued spread of the covid-19 virus.
On March 20, 2020, Common Cause filed complaints with the DOJ, the SEC, and the Senate Ethics Committee calling for investigations of Senators Burr, Dianne Feinstein, Kelly Loeffler, and James Inhofe for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws. According to news reports, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice are coordinating an investigation of Senators who sold stock ahead of the market downturn that resulted from the covid-19 pandemic.
In 2014, Congress passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK ) Act, which specifically prohibits members of Congress from using nonpublic information for private profit and affirms that members are not exempt from federal securities laws that prohibit insider trading.
The Senators have denied any wrongdoing. Burr requested the Senate Ethics Committee to review the matter.
© Andrew Whiteman 2020
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