US senators with coronavirus info alleged to sell stocks before market plunge

The stocks sold off before the stock market began crashing is reportedly worth millions.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Three senators, including one who received top secret security briefings on the spread of the coronavirus, sold off their stocks for millions shortly before the stock market began crashing due to the pandemic, published reports said Friday.

ProPublica reported that Senator Richard Burr of California, who serves as head of the Senate intelligence committee, sold somewhere between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his stocks in two American hotel chains on February 13. Since then, Wyndham Hotels has lost two-thirds of its stock price and Extended Stay America has lost half of its stock value.

Burr had access to the government’s most “highly classified information about threats to America’s security” and was “receiving daily coronavirus briefings” around the time of his stock sales, the report said.

Burr’s office did not respond to requests for comment by ProPublica about what sort of briefing materials the North Carolina senator was receiving.

The New York Times reported there is “no indication” that Burr had any inside coronavirus information before he sold off his stocks.

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, who is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold off millions of dollars in stocks in Exxon Mobil, Ross Stores, and AutoZone shortly before the stock prices began to nosedive as the coronavirus caused massive disruption to travel, tourism and other businesses.

Loeffler took to Twitter on Friday to defend herself, saying, “This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.”

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the two Republican senators, accusing them of exploiting their access to classified information from COVID briefings, tweeting that “it is stomach-churning … they didn’t mobilize to help families, or prep response. They dumped stock.”

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California allegedly sold somewhere between $1.5  and $6 million in stock in California based biotech company Allogene Therapeutics between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, Fox News reported.

Tom Mentzer, a spokesman for Feinstein, told The New York Times that the stocks were sold by Feinstein’s husband and the Californian senator played no role in the transactions.

“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” Mentzer said. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”