According to the Washington Post and other media reports, about a week before the U.S. stock crash, Republican Senator Richard burr and his wife from North Carolina sold 33 shares intensively, valued at between $628000 and $1720000, involving hotels and other industries hardest hit by the epidemic. By the end of March 19, the value of the shares they sold was estimated to be at least $250000 less than the day they sold them.
Kelly Lovell, a Republican senator from Georgia, Diana Feinstein, a Democratic senator from California, and James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, have also been exposed to selling a large number of shares at similar times. In addition, loverler also bought shares in a telecommuting software company in a similar period of time, which bucked the trend in the US stock market crash.
In recent days, more and more congressmen and senior staff have been exposed to perform the perfect hedging operation before the US stock market crash. A senior aide to Republican leader McConnell in the federal Senate and Congresswoman Susan Davis, a California Democrat, also carried out a precise sell-off before the market panic, the politicians website reported on March 22.
Burr et al novel coronavirus pneumonias actions triggered public opinion in the United States, and information shows that they had earlier obtained an internal report on the severity of the new crown pneumonia epidemic in the United States. The novel coronavirus pneumonia reported that New York Times, as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, regularly heard briefings about threats facing the United States, including the threat of new crown pneumonia. Lovells situation is similar.
Under a federal legislation in 2012, the US insider trading ban applies to all members of Congress and members of Congress. In the face of public doubt, burr argued that he was relying on public news reports to make the decision to sell shares, while Lovell, Feinstein and Inhofe said that the decision to sell shares was not made by himself. The U.S. political commonweal organization, common cause, has filed a petition asking the U.S. Department of justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate these members.
Jack Glazer, a political scientist and professor at the Goldman School of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, told the paper that according to the existing reports, Burrs corrupt and cowardly behavior is particularly serious. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he will receive many early briefings on state threats. He was briefed on the spread of the new coronavirus in the United States and told some political donors that it would be very bad. The time and scale of Burrs sale of shares is enough to prove that he made a sell-off action based on internal information.
Its an amazing breach of public trust.
What makes the public even more discontented is that these congressmen, while selling stocks to avoid risks, obviously played down the real severity of the epidemic in their public statements.
However, Burrs assessment of the outbreak in private is quite different from the above statement. In late February, at a private event sponsored by business people, Burrs description of the severity of the outbreak increased significantly, compared with the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, NPR reported.
Loverler has also made a number of public statements that downplay the risk of the outbreak. On March 10, Lovell said publicly on social media: worried about the new coronavirus? Remember this: novel coronavirus pneumonia is very strong, strong economy and employment growth, which gives us the best economic position to tackle the new crown pneumonia epidemic and maintain the security of the United States. At this time, it is more than one month since he began to sell shares.
Noah bukbond, executive director of Washington accountability and ethical citizenship, an American monitoring organization, said that if burr used internal information to protect his wealth, but played down the impact of the epidemic on the public, this behavior is an astonishing breach of public trust and may constitute a violation of the law.. The group has filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate burr and Lovells actions. Robert Ritchie, a former Labor Secretary and public policy expert in the U.S. government, said the selfish behavior of the current senator was unacceptable in an unprecedented crisis.
Once the scandal was exposed, it further deepened public dissatisfaction with the US governments inadequate response to the epidemic. The American publics trust in politicians is already very low, and Im not sure how much room there is for further deterioration, Glazer said