Received this e-mail today from former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, on behalf of Democracy for America:
A little over a month ago, I emailed you about Senator Richard Burr, who sold off millions of dollars in stocks after gaining insider information about the impending pandemic and coming stock market crash.
That’s right, weeks before thousands of doctors and nurses were forced to put their lives on the frontline, millions of parents were scrambling to figure out how to homeschool their children for who knows how long, and over 35 million Americans filed for unemployment to get the support they need to feed themselves and their families, Republican Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina was selling off his stocks in hotel chains and telling wealthy constituents behind closed doors to prepare for the worst. All while also downplaying the threat of the virus in public statements and appearances.
On Wednesday, the FBI seized his cell phone. On Thursday, Senator Burr stepped down as Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
That’s an important first step, but it’s not good enough.
As a reminder, Richard Burr warned only his rich constituents about the severity of coronavirus, then sold $1.5M in stocks right before the market nosedived—all while assuring the public everything was under control.— Robert Reich (@RBReich) May 14, 2020
Stepping down as Intel chair isn't enough. He needs to resign. https://t.co/ShWzRSJKFe
Senator Burr was one of three senators to vote against the 2012 STOCK Act, which barred lawmakers from using non-public information for trades. This kind of self-serving behavior from a sitting senator is unacceptable and unethical. That’s why it’s against the law.
Now consider that Burr did this in reaction to a global pandemic. Instead of immediately focusing on the needs of Americans nationwide or even just the needs of people in his home state of North Carolina, this Republican Senator immediately ran to sell his stock and warn his biggest donors behind closed doors to protect themselves.
All this while publicly falling in line behind Trump and assuring the public everything was under control.
Even in an era of nonexistent ethics and unfettered corruption, this is a disgusting new low and I’m absolutely furious.
This despicable behavior cannot go unaddressed. Burr must be held accountable.
Together, we must demand that he face the consequences for putting his own financial interest before the health, safety and welfare of the American people.
Thank you for taking action, and remember to stay as safe as you can, and keep speaking up for change.
Former Secretary of Labor
Co-founder, Inequality Media