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4 Senators Dumped Millions In Stock Weeks Before Coronavirus Pandemic Hit US

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4 Senators Dumped Millions In Stock Weeks Before Coronavirus Pandemic Hit US

Republican senators Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler and James Inhofe, along with democrat Dianne Feinstein, dumped stocks worth millions ahead of the financial markets plunge in the United States in February, multiple reports suggested Thursday.

Burr Sold Up to $1.73M Worth Shares In Worst-Hit Businesses

North Carolina senator Burr, who is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold shares priced at anywhere between $628,000 to $1.73 million in 33 separate transactions on February 13, ProPublica reported Thursday.

As the intelligence chief, Burr is entitled to privileged information about matters related to America's security and was receiving daily updates about the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-19) globally, as Reuters noted earlier.

Burr and others in President Donald Trump administration had repeatedly assured the citizens of the country's readiness for coronavirus in February and said the risk of the pandemic taking hold in the United States remained low.

In an op-ed co-authored with Senator Lamar Alexander on February 7, Burr gave an optimistic account of preventative measures being taken for COVID-19. Less than a week later, he would dump a significant portion of his financial holdings. According to ProPublica, some of the stocks Burr dumped included Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: WH) and Extended Stay America Inc. (NASDAQ: STAY).

The hospitality sector is among the worst affected businesses from the pandemic. Wyndham stock has lost two-third of its value, while Extended Stay has dropped to about half.

The National Public Radio on Thursday reported that Barr gave a more dismal outlook of the coronavirus, especially its economic impact, to a "small group of well-connected constituents" on February 27, even as President Trump was assuring the public on its non-lethality.

Loeffler And Husband Dumped Millions

Georgia senator Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, who is the Chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE) together made about 29 transactions between late January and February. Out of these, all but two were sales involving millions of dollars, the Daily Beast reported Thursday.

The same day that Loeffler was attending a private all-senator briefing from Trump administration officials, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director and other health officials on January 24, she and her husband sold off the first of the shares, the Daily Beast noted. The first of these sales was their shares, worth anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 in a company called Resideo Technologies Inc. (NYSE: REZI), which has dropped more than 50% lower since late January.

The couple also sold stake worth between $250,000 to $500,000 in Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) in further sales. Loeffler took over as Georgia senator on January 6, filling a position vacated by retiring senator Johnny Isakson. The Daily Beast noted that she didn't report a single sale of shares she owned until January 24, when she attended the first coronavirus-related briefing.

Loeffler took to Twitter early Friday to defend herself.

"This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio," the Georgia senator said. "Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband's knowledge or involvement."

The former Bakkt CEO added that she wasn't informed of the sales until February 16.

Inhofe And Feinstein

"Inhofe sold at least $180,000 in stocks on Jan. 27, days after the Senate’s coronavirus briefing, according to Senate records," according to The Hill. "Inhofe also sold at least $50,000 in stock in an asset management company on Feb. 20, days before the stock market crashed."

"Feinstein, one the longest-tenured Senate Democrats, sold at least $500,000 in shares of Allogene Therapeutics, a California biotechnology company, on Jan. 31 and at least $1 million in Allogene stock on Feb. 18, according to Senate records." according to The Hill.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Senator Kelly Loeffler's Twitter.

 

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