News & Politics

Four Republicans, One Democrat Caught Up in Ballooning Senate Insider Trading Scandal

Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), right, and Vice-Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) confer during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on June 8, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

There’s blood in the water on Capitol Hill and Democrats are bathing in it.

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr is hitting back against a story in NPR that detailed how he sold $1.6 million in stocks after receiving a private briefing about how bad the virus was going to get and then writing an op-ed reassuring his constituents that the government was prepared for the pandemic.

NPR also said he addressed a group of private donors to brief them on the virus, being considerably more pessimistic than he was in his op-ed.

Four other GOP senators — Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Georgia’s Sonny Perdue, and Oklahoma’s James Inhofe — also sold off stock following briefings on the virus.

Burr tried to set the record straight.

The state society may be open to anyone, but the event Burr spoke at in late February was a $500-a-plate lunch.

The issue isn’t what he told the state society. The issue is his dumping $1.6 million in stock after receiving several congressional briefings on the virus, trading on his inside information about how bad things were likely to get.

It doesn’t get any more corrupt than that.

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein also traded on her inside knowledge of the crisis.

Fox News:

Feinstein, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported.

When questioned by the newspaper, a spokesman for the Democrat from San Francisco said Feinstein wasn’t directly involved in the sale.

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

And we’re supposed to believe there was no “pillow talk” between husband and wife? “Blind trust,” my foot.

As for the other senators, Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler also says her assets were not under her control.

Perdue and Johnson have yet to offer their excuses. They will probably be as lame as Burr’s.

In an email from Senator Ron Johnson’s office, a staff member explains the controversy.

Senator Johnson has no need for an excuse. The transaction listed is the result of the sale of the family-owned plastics company he ran before joining the Senate. It was reported on in local media at the time of the sale and the senator commented to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about it last night.

Johnson defended the sale to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Johnson said the deal had been in the works since 2018, long before the current global pandemic.

“Obviously, this had nothing to do with the coronavirus,” Johnson said via text regarding the sale.

Johnson just disclosed on his official statement of economic interest that he made between $5 million and $25 million on the March 2 sale of his share of Pacur LLC, an Oshkosh-based supplier of specialty plastic packaging materials. Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, headed the company before he was elected to the Senate in 2010.

Inhofe and Perdue are running for re-election. Good luck with that, guys. If you’re a Republican, you can’t like how the Senate map has been trending the last month.

But this is not a Republican/Democrat scandal. It’s a class scandal. Great wealth brings with it great temptation. Middle-class Americans don’t have access to the kinds of information that comes a senator’s way. So, the senators have a nice soft landing after the stock market crashes and ordinary Americans see their 401(k)s disappear.

Endemic corruption knows no party. It is a moral failing of the elites. To think yourself above the law or to believe that rules are for the “little people” is the real pandemic among America’s wealthy.

The only cure is to toss their a**es in jail.

This article has been updated to include the statement from Inhofe’s office along with some additional background information.