Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr unloaded stocks in major companies, including hotel chains, in February before the coronavirus pandemic.
Karl Evers-Hillstrom reports: As the coronavirus outbreak began to spread across the U.S. in mid-February, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) unloaded his holdings in dozens of stocks that would lose much of their market value over the coming weeks.
Burr and his wife Brooke sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million in publicly traded stocks on Feb. 13 and didn’t buy any new positions, according to a recent financial disclosure filed with the Senate.
Around the time that Burr sold his shares of major corporations, including several hard hit hotel companies, he publicly expressed confidence about the U.S. government’s ability to fight the virus. However in late February, Burr privately warned that the virus is “much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” according to a recording obtained by NPR.
Between the Burrs’ two accounts, they sold up to $150,000 worth of stock in Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which lost almost two-thirds of its market value since Feb. 13. They sold up to $150,000 in Extended Stay America, another hotel company that lost half its value over the last month. Burr also sold up to $65,000 of stock in Park Hotels & Resorts, which saw its stock price drop from nearly $24 to under $5. The hotel industry is asking President Donald Trump for a bailout as Americans increasingly avoid travel.
Congressional financial disclosures display investment amounts in wide ranges. In total, the Burrs sold seven positions worth between $50,001 and $100,000, including shares of major companies AbbVie, Centurylink and Constellation Brands.
“Senator Burr filed a financial disclosure form for personal transactions made several weeks before the U.S. and financial markets showed signs of volatility due to the growing coronavirus outbreak,” a Burr spokesperson told OpenSecrets. “As the situation continues to evolve daily, he has been deeply concerned by the steep and sudden toll this pandemic is taking on our economy. He supported Congress’ immediate efforts to provide $7.8 billion for response efforts and this week’s bipartisan bill to provide relief for American business and small families.” Read the rest of this entry »