The Department of Justice has begun investigating stock transactions lawmakers had made after a series of closed-door briefings on the imminent COVID-19 outbreak, which dealt a major blow to the stock market before the meetings.
News of the probe, per CNN, came less than two weeks after a ProPublica investigation revealed that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had dumped $1.6 million in stocks after regularly receiving the briefings. The stock market took a nosedive about a week after the senator sold the stocks.
Burr insisted that the transactions were based “solely on public news reports” after revelations of his sales emerged.
According to CNN, the FBI has already reached out to the North Carolina Republican in the DOJ’s investigation.
Burr “welcomes a thorough review of the facts in this matter,” Alice Fisher, one of the GOP senator’s attorneys, told CNN.
The lawyer pointed to the senator’s request for an ethics review by the Senate Ethics Committee.
A report by the Daily Beast revealed that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) had also sold millions in stocks on the same day she attended a private all-Senate briefing on the coronavirus on January 24.
Like Burr, Loeffler has denied any wrongdoing and said she would cooperate with a Senate Ethics Committee review on the exchanges. The Georgia senator’s office told CNN that investigators have not contacted her.