Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) sold millions of dollars of stock ahead of the coronavirus-related market collapse, said Peter Schweizer, senior contributor to Breitbart News and author of Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite.
On Episode 15 of the Drill Down, Schweizer warns how members of Congress can use confidential information not available to the public, received through private briefings, to enrich themselves and their families.
Schweizer said, “According to their financial disclosures, Republican Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler, along with Democrat Diane Feinstein, all sold large amounts of stock in advance of the stock market collapse. Many of these transactions occurred shortly after Congress was briefed behind closed doors by U.S. officials on the potential impact the coronavirus could have on the country.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched an investigation of Burr’s sale of upwards of $1.72 million in stock, according to a CNN report.
Unlike Burr, who admitted to selling stock himself ahead of the stock market dives, Feinstein’s and Loeffler’s stock sales were executed by their husbands. Schweizer said:
Senator Kelly Loeffler, who is married to the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, also sits on the Senate Health committee. On January 24th, the same day that Senate Committee received a briefing about the spread of the global pandemic, Loeffler and her husband began selling stock. They eventually unloaded 3 million worth of shares in 27 separate transactions. Two days after the Senate received a classified briefing on the coronavirus, Loeffler’s husband Jeffrey Sprecher sold $3.5 million dollars worth of his own company’s stock.
Senator Diane Feinstein’s financial disclosures expose a similar trend. Within weeks of receiving a private Senate briefing, Feinstein’s husband unloaded between one and five million dollars worth of stock.
Even U.S. House members got in on the action, with California Representative Susan Davis selling airline and cruise industry stock in advance of the stock market collapse.
Despite suggesting their assets are managed in blind trusts, both Feinstein and Loeffler do not place their assets in blind trusts.
Schweizer has repeatedly recommended mandatory use of blind trusts for the assets of members of Congress and other elected officials to combat insider trading based on confidential information not available to the public.
“There are still dozens of U.S. Senators who have yet to disclose any trades they might have made in the same time period,” added Schweizer.
Schweizer reflected on his 2011 book, Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of us to Prison, and subsequent passage of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, known as the STOCK Act.
“[Throw Them All Out] exposed the alarming patterns by which members of Congress’s stock portfolios were outperforming the nation’s top hedge funds.,” Schweizer concluded. “Sadly, the recent activities of Congress show that, even in times of the most unimaginable crisis, our nation’s health still takes a backseat to Washington’s wealth.”
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