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Straight from Common Cause and NY Times' Leonhardt: Calls for Senator Resignations, Insider trading on Coronavirus

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Recording: NC Sen. Burr warned crowd about coronavirus during late-February event Recording: NC Sen. Burr warned crowd about coronavirus during late-February event.
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[Recording: NC Sen. Burr warned crowd about coronavirus during late-February event.]

A new report by ProPublica exposes an absolutely shameful, and possibly criminal, insider trading scheme by a leading Senate Republican. [1] Common Cause is demanding an investigation -- and will demand Burr's immediate resignation if the report is true. You can add your voice here >>

Sen. Richard Burr received daily briefings about the coronavirus as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. And publicly, he downplayed concerns about an outbreak -- saying we were "better prepared than ever before." [2]

But in private, Burr was selling off his portfolio -- unloading up to $1.6 million in stocks on Feb. 13, right before they lost huge amounts of market value. That means Burr's inside information as a Senator let him dodge the market crash that has shrunk millions of Americans' retirement savings.

We're filing formal complaints asking the Senate Ethics Committee, Department of Justice, and Securities and Exchange Commission to begin an investigation into Sen. Burr -- as well as Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who made similar stock sell-offs earlier this year.

ProPublica's report implicates Sen. Burr in a clear-cut violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) Act, with possible criminal prosecution as a result.

That law -- which Common Cause successfully lobbied to pass, and Sen. Burr was one of only three Senators to vote against [3] -- prohibits members of Congress from using the confidential information they have access to to make private profit, subjecting them to the same insider trading restrictions as everyone else.

Profiting off of a pandemic would be among the most despicable ethical breaches I've ever seen in Congress. Instead of serving the American people in a moment of crisis -- it seems Burr used his position as a Senator to enrich himself.

As the virus spread, Burr began warning wealthy donors about it behind closed doors -- telling them on secret audio that "it is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic." [4] Even then, he kept quiet in public -- falling in line as President Trump claimed that the virus was "going to disappear."

That means he failed his constituents by not telling them the truth so they could protect themselves, while sharing the dangers with an elite group of wealthy donors.

If Burr engaged in this kind of self-serving conduct, he has no right to continue to serve. Add your name to demand a full investigation immediately >>

No matter your party or political orientation, we should all be able to agree that senators should not be profiting off of a national crisis. In addition, senators who mislead the public and their constituents and only share critical health and safety information with their wealthy donors have violated their oath of office. Please join me in lending your voice today.

Jack Mumby, Deputy Digital Directorand the team at Common Cause

[1] click here
[2] click here

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