Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) leaves the US Capitol after a vote in Washington, DC, USA, May 14, 2020.
Erin Scott Reuters
The Department of Justice will not prosecute Sen. Richard Burr in connection with stock market deals that the North Carolina Republican made on his heels to be informed about Covid-1
Burr’s investigation had included the highly unusual seizure of his cell phone from the FBI in May and led to his resignation as chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee that month.
“Tonight, the Department of Justice informed me that it has completed its review of my personal financial transactions made at the beginning of last year,” Burr said in a statement Tuesday night.
“The case is over. I’m glad to hear it. My focus has been and will continue to work for the people of North Carolina during this difficult time for our nation,” Burr said.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
But a DOJ official confirmed to NBC News that the investigation was over.
The news came last night as President Donald Trump.
The closure of the probe apparently ended a controversy that erupted last March when the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic began to hit the United States.
Burr was one of several senators to raise eyebrows at stock deals made in their accounts, which came after receiving information warning of the potential effects of Covid, but before the pandemic began to spread rapidly.
But unlike other senators, Kelly Löfler of Georgia, Diane Feinstein of California and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Burr did not deny that he decided to sell the shares himself or that fears of the coronavirus were his main motivation for the sale.
Only Burr was the subject of a lengthy criminal investigation by the DOJ into his stock trading. The other three, who, like Burr, denied any wrongdoing, were told in May that they would not face criminal charges.
Members of Congress have a legal ban on using non-public information obtained through their official positions to take advantage of the stock market in person.
The Stockpile Act, which codified the ban, was signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 after passing the Senate by 96-3 votes. Burr was one of three no-votes on the bill
As chairman of intelligence, Burr had access in January and February 2020 to classified intelligence reports that contained clear warnings about the coronavirus.
On February 13 last year, Burr landed shares worth $ 630,000 to $ 1.7 million, with 33 separate trades made on that single day. The shares he sold represent a significant part of his financial portfolio.
A week later, stock markets began to plummet for fear that the pandemic would cripple the global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 30% of its value in the weeks following Burr’s deals.
ProPublica reports that on the day Burr sold his shares, his son-in-law Gerald Faut himself sold shares worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Fauth was appointed by Trump in 2017 to a position on the three-member National Mediation Council, a federal agency that helps facilitate labor relations for the transportation industry.
During the ProPublica report, Burr’s lawyer Alice Fisher told the news that Burr “did not agree on his decision to trade” with Fauth.
“From the outset, Senator Burr focused on an appropriate and in-depth review of the facts of the matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate,” Fisher said at the time.
Burr said in late March, “I relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision to sell shares.”
“In particular, I closely followed CNBC’s daily health and scientific reports from Asian bureaus at the time,” he said.