They told the public everything would be okay with the virus outbreak. Then they privately dumped stocks.
Over the past 24 hours, news has spread that various U.S. lawmakers received advance private briefings about the severity of an oncoming coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic -- then, they sold stocks before the public knew how bad it would get, and how the economy would suffer.
Two of those lawmakers, both GOP senators, are now facing calls to resign, Reuters reports.
Richard Burr is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Burr sold up to $1.7 million worth of stock on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions after he told the public Trump's team would take care of the virus.
Fellow GOP senator Kelly Loeffler also sold millions of dollars in shares in the weeks after lawmakers were first briefed on the virus, according to public filings reported by ProPublica.
Read the original ProPublica reports:
• Senator Dumped Up to $1.7 Million of Stock After Reassuring Public About Coronavirus Preparedness
• The Senator Who Dumped His Stocks Before the Coronavirus Crash Has Asked Ethics Officials for a “Complete Review”
From Reuters today:
Media reports about Burr and Loeffler, who have denied wrongdoing, prompted calls for them to leave office if they were found to have broken the law from people as disparate as a progressive Democratic lawmaker and a conservative commentator.
As Intelligence Committee chairman, Burr has been receiving regular classified updates on the outbreak.
Burr made public comments in line with Republican President Donald Trump’s early assurances that the country could easily handle the situation. But the senator told a private luncheon in Washington two weeks after the stock sale that the coronavirus was much more aggressive in its transmission “than anything that we have seen in recent history,” according to a recording obtained by National Public Radio.
Both lawmakers deny wrongdoing.
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