Earlier today the news broke that Republican Senator Richard Burr had been caught on tape weeks ago, secretly admitting to his wealthiest constituents that the coronavirus was going to have a disastrous impact on the United States. That was duplicitous enough, considering Burr publicly remained quiet while Donald Trump was busy telling the American people that it was all a hoax. Now it’s gotten much uglier for Burr.
It turns out Richard Burr personally sold off $1.5 million of his own stock market investments just before the stock market started going off a cliff, according to a new expose by ProPublica. When you combine this with the fact that Burr was getting intel briefings about the coronavirus at the time, and Burr’s admission on tape that he knew the coronavirus was going to have a terrible economic impact, and Burr’s public statement at the time that the government was supposedly on top of all this, it adds up to two words: insider trading.
If Senator Burr had merely been guessing that the coronavirus crisis was about to send the stock market off a cliff based on publicly available information, that would have been fine. Or if he had publicly disclosed what he knew, at the time he was selling off his own shares, that would be one thing. But Burr sold off his shares based on inside knowledge about the economy that the public didn’t have. That’s the textbook definition of insider trading – and people go to prison for it when they get caught. Did Burr really think he wouldn’t get caught?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report