Senators deny trading on virus info as scrutiny mounts

The Associated Press - March 22, 2020 10:24 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing public outrage, senators in both political parties are denying that they exploited advance knowledge when they dumped stocks and other financial holdings before the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the economy.

The sales in question took place in January, while the messaging from the government was still insistent that things were being blown out of proportion for the sake of partisan politics. Some outlets reported that many of the accused had been personally advised of exactly how much this pandemic would disrupt daily life and impact the economy. The disparity between the public messages and private sales, elected officials assuring the public that things would be fine even as they themselves were dumping stocks, is the focus of most of the outrage.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, whose sales of as much as $1.7 million in stocks have come under the most scrutiny, is asking for an ethics probe. However, Burr and all the other senators pushed back strongly against suggestions that they used sensitive government information to protect their financial well-being.

The senators’ actions have attracted heavy scrutiny as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt everyday life, wiping out jobs and personal wealth.


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