U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s brother-in-law sold a sizable chunk of the stock on the same day — Feb. 13 — that Burr and his wife made 33 sell trades.
According a filing under the federal financial disclosure lawGerald Fauth sold six shares valued between $97,006 and $280,000.
US Senate financial disclosure documents show that Burr and his wife, Brooke, sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million of their stock on Feb. 13. The Roll Call publication lists Richard Burr’s net worth at $1.7 million in 2018.
All of the sales were made a week before the stock market began its steep coronavirus-related decline on February 20 and after Burr attended a joint Senate Health and Foreign Relations Committee briefing on January 24 on the coronavirus. which included the director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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CNN reported on March 29 that Burr faces potential federal investigations from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission over the stock sales.
On March 19, ProPublica was the first to report that the Burrs sold much of their stock portfolio, including shares of three companies in the hotel and hospitality industry that slumped during the initial impact of the virus on the stock market.
ProPublica was the first to report On Wednesday, shares of Fauth sell on February 13.
Fauth sales involved:
- Mondelez International Inc., a confectionery, food, holding and beverage company, between $50,001 and $100,000;
- Altria Group Inc., parent company of tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris USA, between $15,001 and $50,000;
- Chevron Corp., between $15,001 and $50,000.
- Royal Dutch Shell (B stock), between $15,001 and $50,000.
- BP (British Petroleum) PLC, between $1,001 and $15,000; and
- Williams-Sonoma Inc., between $1,001 and $15,000.
There was no overlap in the shares sold on February 13 by the Burrs and Fauth. The Burrs bought shares of Mondelez in 2013 and sold them in 2015.
On February 13, the Republican senator from Winston-Salem sold eight stocks valued between $1,001 and $15,000 and 10 stocks valued between $15,001 and $50,000.
Brooke Burr sold eight shares valued between $15,001 and $50,000 and seven shares valued between $50,001 and $100,000.
On March 20, Burr spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll released a statement from Burr regarding the stock sale.
“I relied solely on public information to guide my decision regarding the February 13 stock sale,” Burr wrote. “Specifically, I closely followed CNBC’s daily health and science reports from its Asian offices at the time.
“Understanding the assumption that many might make in hindsight, I spoke this morning with the chairman of the Senate ethics committee and asked him to open a full review of the matter in full transparency.”
On Wednesday, attorney Alice Fisher of the Washington law firm Latham & Watkins LLP said in a statement that “Senator Burr entered the stock market based on public information, and he did not coordinate his decision. to negotiate on February 13 with Mr. Fauth.”
ProPublica said Fisher did not respond when asked if Burr discussed anything he learned as a senator with Fauth or any other relative.
President Donald Trump appointed Fauth in 2017 to the three-person National Mediation Council, a federal agency that facilitates labor-management relations in the nation’s railroad and airline industries.
ProPublica reported that Federal Election Commission records show Burr’s executive PAC, Next Century Fund, has paid $120,348 since 2002 to his sister-in-law, Mary Fauth, Gerald’s wife, who serves as treasurer.
PAC paid $104,850 in rent and utilities over the same period at 116 S. Royal St. Partners, of which Gerald Fauth is a partner.
According to a secret recording obtained by NPR, on February 27, Burr told members of the well-connected private Tar Heel circle that the novel coronavirus would have disastrous effects on the American economy and people. He compared it to the 1918 flu pandemic that killed millions.
Burr warned the private group the same day that Trump had publicly downplayed the significance of the virus.
Burr’s comments carry significant weight in part because he authored the 2006 federal Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act.
The Feb. 13 stock sales by Burr and his wife came six days after Burr co-wrote an op-ed saying America had tools in place to fight COVID-19.
Burr faces intense bipartisan criticism for the stock trades, the private warning and the sale of a townhouse in 2017 to a high-profile pharmaceutical lobbyist.
U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has been a fierce critic of Burr, particularly during Burr’s time co-leading the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian involvement in US influence. 2016 presidential election. Gaetz is also one of Trump’s most vocal supporters in Congress.
Gaetz fired social media salvos at Burr, including demanding his resignation as head of the committee.
Calls for Burr to step down as a senator were backed by half of North Carolinians, according to a public policy poll released March 24.
Among Democrats, 63% think Burr should quit vs. 15% who said he should stay, while 38% of Republicans said they would stay and 31% quit, and 53% of independents/unaffiliates said they quit and 18 % said to stay.
“As an unprecedented crisis loomed, a top Republican senator used inside information to protect his family’s wealth instead of his constituents,” said Austin Cook, communications director for the NC Democratic party.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, RN.C., said Burr owed an explanation to North Carolinians and that the presidency belonged to Republican leaders in the Senate.
“Voters and the media deserve to hear from Republicans, like Thom Tillis, Mitch McConnell and (NC GOP Chairman Michael) Whatley if this kind of behavior is truly acceptable to them,” Cook said.