Dem. Dianne Feinstein spoke to the FBI about her husband’s stock trading during an insider trading investigation
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein revealed on Thursday that she handed financial documents to the FBI in April regarding her husband’s stock transactions, while other senators are under critical scrutiny for selling shares just as the corona virus hit the US.
Feinstein, who is the highest-ranking member of the judiciary and member of the intelligence committee, spoke to the FBI last month when her husband’s transactions came under fire and one of her spokesmen claimed there had been “no follow-up actions on this issue. . ‘
“Senator Feinstein got some basic questions from law enforcement about her husband’s stock transactions,” a spokesman for the Senator in California said in a statement Thursday.
“She happily answered those questions voluntarily to rectify the report and provided additional documents that showed that she was not involved in her husband’s transactions,” the statement continued.
Disclosures of the conversation come as other senators, including Republicans Richard Burr and Kelly Loffeler, criticize their own investment actions.
Feinstein claimed in April that she has “no input” into her husband’s finances after Senate records revealed that he had shares of Allogene Therapeutics, a California biotechnology company, on January 31, and at least $ 1 million on Allogene on February 18. shares.
Republican Senator Richard Burr’s Washington residence was robbed on Wednesday evening as part of a Justice Department investigation into whether he was benefiting from insider trading – and his phone was seized by FBI agents.
“This morning I informed Majority Leader McConnell that I have made the decision to step down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Commission until this investigation is completed,” Burr said in a statement that the move is not permanent.
Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein revealed on Thursday that she spoke to the FBI and handed over financial documents in April as part of an investigation by the Department of Justice to determine whether lawmakers have benefited from insider trading because of insider information about the corona virus
Senator Richard Burr stepped down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday after the FBI robbed him home and confiscated his cell phone in coordination with the DOJ investigation
Burr was chairman of the committee that published a report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, but Trump told reporters in the White House on Thursday that he was “unaware” of the raid on Burr’s hometown in Washington before it was conducted.
Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler was also scrutinized for her own stock market activity when the corona virus outbreak loomed. She answered no question on Thursday if she had been in contact with the FBI, and her spokesman said, “No search warrant has been issued on Senator Loeffler.”
“The work of the Intelligence Committee and its members is too important to interfere in any way,” he continued. “I think this step is necessary to enable the committee to continue its essential work without outside distractions.”
McConnell also suggested the move is “temporary,” but its speed underscores the magnitude of the shock surrounding a seated Senator being ambushed by the FBI.
“Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to resign as chairman of the intelligence commission during the ongoing investigations,” McConnell said Thursday afternoon.
“We agreed that this decision would be in the interest of the committee and take effect tomorrow at the end of the day,” the Republican Senate summit continued.
FBI agents raided Burr’s house on Wednesday evening and confiscated his mobile as part of the Justice Department investigation into controversial stock trading that he conducted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said before leaving for a day trip to Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon that he was unaware of the raid in advance.
“No, I never did that. I didn’t know, “he told reporters before boarding Marine One.
Burr chaired the committee that released a report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
The senator from North Carolina, who is also a member of the health committee, sold a large percentage of his stock portfolio in February shortly before the market collapsed and just after receiving daily briefings on the corona virus.
However, this week questions arose as to whether Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler will suffer the same fate for its investment actions at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Loeffler did not respond on Thursday when she was asked by a reporter on Capitol Hill if she had any contact with the FBI.
A Senator spokesperson for Georgia said in a statement later today, “No search warrant has been issued on Senator Loeffler. She has followed and will continue to follow both the letter and the spirit of the law. ‘
Republican representative Doug Collins, who challenges Loeffler in the first election to her seat in the Senate, urged her to “call your office” when news of the raid on Burr’s house broke out on Wednesday evening.
“Is @SenatorLoeffler next?” he asked Thursday.
Burr turned his phone over to federal agents after filing a warrant at his Washington home, an anonymous law enforcement source told the LA Times.
Obtaining the warrant marks a significant escalation in the Department of Justice’s investigation of whether he has violated a law preventing members of Congress from trading insider information obtained from their official work.
To obtain the order, both federal agents and prosecutors had to prove to a judge they suspected that a crime had been committed. The source of The Times said the Justice Department is investigating Burr’s communications with his broker.
Over 33 different transactions on February 13, Burr sold between $ 628,000 and $ 1.72 million of his holdings, according to ProPublica, who first reported on the Senator’s sale in March.
Just 24 hours earlier, the health committee received a briefing about the virus. A large part of the shares was invested in companies that were subsequently hit hard by the plunge in the following weeks.
Before his sale, Burr had assured the public that the federal government was well prepared to deal with the virus.
In a Feb. 7 opinion he co-authored with another Senator, he said, “The United States is better than ever today for new threats to public health, such as the coronavirus.”
However, that month, according to an NPR recording, Burr had given a VIP group at an exclusive social club a far more poignant example of the economic impact of the corona virus, warning that it could limit business travel, close schools, and result in the mobilize the military to compensate for overwhelmed hospitals.
A Burr spokesman declined to comment. The Republican senator, who has no plans to run for re-election in 2022, has previously denied that he would use any information he obtained as a senator to help him get a financial offer.
After the share sale was made public two months ago, Burr said he would ask the Senate Ethics Committee to review it.
And Burr is not the only Senator under scrutiny for his stock market activity as the COVID-19 outbreak approached the U.S.
Over 33 different transactions on February 13, Burr sold between $ 628,000 and $ 1.72 million of his holdings, according to ProPublica, who first reported on the Senator’s sale in March. The Justice Department is investigating Burr’s telephone communications with his broker
Kelly Loeffler sold shares worth between $ 1.25 million and $ 3.1 million in companies that later declined significantly, such as ExxonMobil
Between late February and early March, Senator Kelly Loeffler sold shares worth between $ 1.25 million and $ 3.1 million in companies that later declined significantly, such as ExxonMobil.
Loeffler and her CEO husband Jeffrey Sprecher, who heads the New York Stock Exchange, also bought shares worth between $ 450,000 and $ 1 million, including in Citrix, a company that benefits when people work from home.
After the backlash, Loeffler and Sprecher liquidated all their shares.
In an opinion for The Wall Street Journal, Loeffler argued that she hadn’t done anything wrong and that she didn’t have to sell, but to end the “distraction” it caused.
“While the Senate ethical rules do not require it, my husband and I are liquidating our interests in managed accounts and moving to exchange-traded and mutual funds. I will report these exciting trades later in the month in the periodic transaction report I submitted, “she wrote.
“I’m not doing this because I have to,” she added. “I have done everything correctly and in accordance with the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Senate’s ethical rules and US law. I do it because the problem is not worth the distraction. My family’s investment accounts are used as weapons to attack my character at a time when we should all focus on making our country safe and strong. ‘
Also caught up in the scandal is Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth (above), who sold between $ 97,000 and $ 280,000 worth of shares on the same day that Burr
She later called the increasing investigation “a socialist attack” in an interview with Fox News.
Also caught up in the scandal is Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, who sold between $ 97,000 and $ 280,000 worth of shares on the same day Burr sold his.
Fauth avoided between $ 37,000 and $ 118,000 in losses by reselling when he did, given how much the company’s stock fell in weeks afterward, according to an analysis by Luke Brindle-Khym, a partner and general counsel to the Manhattan established research agency QRI.
Brindle-Khym obtained Fauth’s financial disclosure from the Office of Government Ethics and shared it with ProPublica. Government forms only require the value of exchange transactions to be disclosed within range. After the February sales, the total value of Fauth’s individual shares appears to be between $ 680,000 and $ 2 million.
An overview of Fauth’s financial disclosure forms since 2017 shows that he is not a frequent stock trader, but also had a big sales day in August 2019.
On February 13, Fauth or his husband sold between $ 15,001 and $ 50,000 to Altria, the tobacco company; between $ 50,001 and $ 100,000 from snack maker Mondelez International; and between $ 1,001 and $ 15,000 from home decorators Williams-Sonoma.
He also sold shares in several oil companies, which were hit particularly hard, including between $ 15,001 and $ 50,000 Chevron; between $ 1,001 and $ 15,000 BP and between $ 15,001 and $ 50,000 Royal Dutch Shell.
Burr has denied coordinating his stock market trading with his brother-in-law.
Congress banned lawmakers from acting on the basis of privileged information they hold in their public offices, such as during briefings with senior federal officials in 2012.
Known as the STOCK Act, legislators must disclose their stock market activity, but they may own shares, even in sectors for which they may be responsible for oversight.
The law passed the Senate in 2012 with a vote of 96-3. One of the three opposing senators was Richard Burr.