The Four Senators Who Sold Their Stocks Just in Time

By now you’ve heard that Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is in big trouble for dumping stocks before the stock market crumbled. And you may have heard he wasn’t the only one. But Burr, who had already announced he would retire when his term ends in 2022, seems especially vulnerable, since even Tucker Carlson thinks he should resign.

Greg Sargent explains,

The revelations raise questions about whether private briefings that Burr, the chair of the Intelligence Committee, received from Trump officials about the scale of the threat might have influenced the financial move. As The Post summarizes:

Burr reportedly was receiving daily briefings on the threat of the virus. In mid-February, he sold 33 stocks held by him and his spouse, estimated at between $628,033 and $1.72 million, Senate financial disclosures show. It was the largest number of stocks he had sold in one day since at least 2016, records show.

Making this potentially worse, that same month, Burr privately advised a group of well-connected players that the coronavirus threat was very alarming — “akin to the 1918 pandemic” — even as Trump was publicly downplaying it.

But Burr doesn’t seem to me to be any more guilty than Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who is running to keep her seat now.

The Senate’s newest member sold off seven figures’ worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks after a private, all-senators meeting on the novel coronavirus that subsequently hammered U.S. equities.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) reported the first sale of stock jointly owned by her and her husband on Jan. 24, the very day that her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials, including the CDC director and Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on the coronavirus.

I seriously want Loeffler to be defeated.

When Loeffler assumed office, she immediately became the wealthiest member of Congress. The Atlanta businesswoman, whose husband is the chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, has a fortune estimated at $500 million.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)

Next we move on to Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), one of the eight senators who voted against the first Covid-19 relief package this week, and who is also up for re-election.

A late January stock sale worth up to $750,000 was part of a continuing divestiture plan and unrelated to news about the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Friday.

Senator Inhofe says he wasn’t at the January 24 meeting, nyah nyah nyah.

Of course, none of the other senators who did attend the meeting would have talked to him about it, would they?

There is also a Democrat in this mix. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in a biotechnology company’s stock in late January and early February.

Loeffler, Inhofe, and Feinstein say that they didn’t personally sell those stocks. Their financial managers sold those stocks; the senators themselves deny knowing anything about it. According to TPM, “Burr has since claimed that he dumped between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings in February, based solely on publicly available news reports.” The “insider” information he was getting as a senator had nothing to do with it, he says.

One suspects we’ll be hearing more about this. And it’s not just about potential “insider” trading; it’s about these people knowing the situation was dire but going along with the Trump Administration’s claims that everything was just fine and under control. Well, the Republicans, anyway. I’m not aware of Feinstein trying to cover Trump’s ass.

8 thoughts on “The Four Senators Who Sold Their Stocks Just in Time

  1. Look, I'm not by any stretch a Feinstein fan, but her inclusion in this list is a "both sides" attempt and you shouldn't fall for it.  And not just because her stock sales lost her money while the 3 Republicans saved big bucks.

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  2. From the Washington Post, a fine statement as to the ethical problem of Burr's stock sales and other related issues.    

    Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told me these revelations illustrate the scale of the problem — and why the current ban on trading on inside knowledge isn’t enough to ensure public confidence that officials are acting in the public interest, rather than in their own.

    “If members simply don't own or trade assets that could conflict with their jobs or be related to non-public briefings,” Bookbinder said, “there will be no temptation for them to profit from information they learn on the job, and no reason for the public to doubt their motivations.”

    It’s time to figure out what lawmakers knew, and when. Another big question raised by this story is this: What, exactly, were lawmakers told in their private administration briefings, and when were they told it?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/20/three-big-takeaways-stunning-gop-stock-selling-revelations/

  3. I think JDM's right.

    And I'm also no fan of hers.

    Burr's the worst actor though, imo.  He's the head of the Intelligence Committee (I question the intelligence of that committee when  R's control the Senate.  My evidence to support that, is that Devin "Sue the cow" Nunes was Burr's House counterpart prior to '19), and he didn't at least keep his mouth shut!  No!  Instead, while telling his rich cronies about the seriousness of this tRUMP Plague, and getting his chunk of The tRUMP Grift, he made appearances on TV supporting tRUMPleTHINSKIN's bullshit!  

    I say peel him slowly with a butterknife, brine him, then deep-fry his carcass and serve it to feral dogs (or, to save time, just peel him, then give him to the dogs!).  Then take the peeled, brined, and fried head, put it on a pike, and leave on the public grounds around DC's Senate building as a warning.

    Then rinse & repeat with  that Ann Coulter look alike from GA, Feinstien, and any others.

    I kid.

    Try 'em, put in prison, and throw away the damn keys.

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  4. OK. An excuse to get on my soapbox. Look at this with a bigger frame. We 'hire' congress-critters to represent us but they represent themselves, especially their own financial interests. Pelosi has been the queen of insider trading for decades – 60 Minutes did a feature article on her (and others.) 

    The result was the STOCK Act, which was immediately exposed as a fraud. Eric Cantor had a hand in swapping out a key component on the eve of the vote which made insider trading legal, as long as the spouse called the broker. But don't just blame the GOP. A year or so later Obama signed an amendment to the law which gutted reporting requirements. 

    https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2013/04/16/177496734/how-congress-quietly-overhauled-its-insider-trading-law

    I can't find ANY examples of prosecutions under the STOCK Act. I'll bet my gyro they're still getting rich. There are articles based on an analysis using public disclosure info on net worth. Historically, around 20% of Congress doubles their net worth annually. You can't find any random group of investors that does so well. I'm looking for the article. Here. https://ballotpedia.org/Changes_in_Net_Worth_of_U.S._Senators_and_Representatives_(Personal_Gain_Index)

    If numbers intimidate you, this is a good lay summary.

    https://represent.us/action/insider-trading/

    There's an easy fix that's not a new invention. It's called a blind trust. Before you take office, you have to put your investment portfolio in the hands of a certified firm with a binding agreement which prohibits communication about suggested buying and selling. The manager is allowed and required to move your investments around. You don't know HOW a vote will affect your finances. If you try to act on insider information, you AND your broker can go to jail (unless he reports the attempted infraction.) 

    A wise man once pointed out… “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money." Matthew 6:24

    Substitute "the public interest" for "God" and Jesus pretty well nailed it. 

    This is one of three legs which defines how to reform institutional corruption.

    (Off soapbox)

     

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  5. Well, there's not much we can do right now to hold them to account…But on the bright side, we can rejoice in the fact that Duncan Hunter got 11 months in the big house. I know that's a small consolation considering all the cheating and pilfering that goes on among politicians, but you can't let that blind you to the enjoyment that can be had when the extremely stupid ones get nabbed.

    BTW.. There's no vaping allowed in the big house. Poor Duncky, he should have put on his thinking cap. I guess he thought he wouldn't get caught…. but he did.

  6. Going back 30 years or so Kit Bond who was variously senator, governor, senator and ambassador to Switzerland, not in that order, put his money in a blind trust with Paine Webber and lost much of it due to an investment in TCBY, The Country's Best Yogurt.  So, not everybody wins.

  7. This would not be worth reading if I would have written it nor anyone with even a slightly liberal taint.  When the author's name is Max Boot and has bona fide conservative credentials, this is a worthwhile read.  Trumpanistas are a different breed even from mainstream  conservatism although no one has told them that — or really much of anything else come to think about it.  I remembered the days when a conservative congressman only invested in gold bullion and never sold.  These Trumpanistas are a corrupt batch without ethics or competency.  Max might have to take a different pseudonym after writing this one though.  This might just cast him into the born again never Trump author category.  

    I weep in anger and frustration imagining what might have been if Hillary Clinton — a sane, sensible adult — had won. We couldn’t have avoided the coronavirus, but we could have ameliorated its effects. We could be South Korea (102 deaths) rather than Italy (4,825 deaths and counting).

    It was precisely because we were afraid of how Trump would mishandle his weighty responsibilities that some “Never Trump” conservatives supported Clinton in 2016. On May 8, 2016, I wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “There has never been a major party nominee in U.S. history as unqualified for the presidency. The risk of Trump winning, however remote, represents the biggest national security threat that the United States faces today.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/21/this-wouldnt-have-happened-if-hillary-clinton-had-won/

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