DOJ ends investigation into stock sales of N.C. Sen. Richard Burr with no charges

DOJ ends investigation into stock sales of N.C. Sen. Richard Burr with no charges
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., speaks with reporters (Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(WBTV) - The United States Department of Justice has ended its investigation into the stock trading of North Carolina Senator Richard Burr with no charges, as the case is now closed.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that law enforcement officials told the senator they would not pursue charges “over his dumping of hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock after Senate coronavirus briefings early in the pandemic.”

Sen. Burr issued a statement shortly after the story broke.

“Tonight, the Department of Justice informed me that it has concluded its review of my personal financial transactions conducted early last year. The case is now closed. I’m glad to hear it. My focus has been and will continue to be working for the people of North Carolina during this difficult time for our nation,” Sen. Burr said.

In May 2020, Sen. Burr stepped down as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid the investigation into stock trading linked to the coronavirus.

The Los Angeles Times reported previously that federal agents had served a search warrant on Sen. Burr and seized his cell phone in May 2020. Burr turned over his phone to federal agents at his Washington, D.C. home.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein previously called for a “thorough and complete investigation” of Sen. Burr after reports that he sold off as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the markets dropped due to coronavirus concerns.

Senate records showed that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to fall and as government health officials issued warnings about the effects of the coronavirus.

Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.

Burr’s selloff came right as the committee was receiving daily briefings on the coronavirus health threat, according to ProRepublica.

An NPR recording captured Burr speaking at a Feb. 27 North Carolina State Society event. In the recording, Burr warned about the impact COVID-19 could have on the America.

Burr had consistently denied wrongdoing and requested an ethics review of the stock sales.

According to WNCN in Raleigh, Alice Fisher, an attorney for Burr, issued a statement saying, “The law is clear that any American -– including a senator -– may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did.”

Burr has acknowledged selling the stocks because of the coronavirus but said he relied “solely on public news reports,” specifically CNBC’s daily health and science reporting out of Asia, to make the financial decisions.”

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