Remember how, a few weeks ago, we learned that Senator Richard Burr had sold his swanky Washington, D.C., townhouse to a lobbyist at an allegedly above-market price in 2017 even as that lobbyist’s firm was working on a pharma bill that Burr had cosponsored?
And remember how, about a month ago, we learned that Burr had the foresight to dump $47,000 worth of shares in an obscure Dutch fertilizer company in September 2018, shortly before its stock went into freefall—thanks, in part, to a change in Trump administration trade policy?
And remember how, in March, we learned that Burr—the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee—had unloaded his portfolio, up to $1.7 million, just before the coronavirus pandemic sent the market into a death spiral, even as he was assuring the rest of the country that the federal government had the situation completely under control?
That one landed Burr under a joint Securities and Exchange Commission and FBI investigation, as it’s illegal for members of Congress to profit from secretly acquired information. (He was also sued by some guy.) Burr swore he didn’t do that. He asked the do-nothing Senate Ethics Committee to investigate him and insisted that he simply relied on what was in the public domain.
That’s getting harder to believe.
On Wednesday, ProPublica—which broke those first three stories—reported that Burr’s brother-in-law had the exact same sense of good luck and great timing. On the same say that Burr dumped his stock, Gerald Fauth unloaded between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies, several of which have taken a beating since.
As a Trump appointee to the National Mediation Board, Fauth, an ex-lobbyist, also has to disclose stock sales. According to ProPublica, he avoided between $37,000 and $118,000 in losses. Fauth still has between $680,000 and $2 million in stock holdings.
“On Feb. 13,” ProPublica reports, “Fauth or his spouse sold between $15,001 and $50,000 of Altria, the tobacco company; between $50,001 and $100,000 of snack food maker Mondelez International; and between $1,001 and $15,000 of home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma. He also sold stakes in several oil companies, which have been hit particularly hard, including between $15,001 and $50,000 of Chevron; between $1,001 and $15,000 of BP and between $15,001 and $50,000 of Royal Dutch Shell.”
Burr’s attorney told ProPublica that the senator “participated in the stock market based on public information and he did not coordinate his decision to trade on Feb. 13 with Mr. Fauth.”
On an unrelated note, what the hell is this beard about?
Contact editor-in-chief Jeffrey C. Billman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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