The Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed that Sen. Richard Burr, who had access to nonpublic information about the coronavirus’ looming economic impact, warned his brother-in-law in a 50-second phone call. The brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, called his stockbroker the next minute, according to ProPublica. When it turned out that his broker was out of the office, Fauth immediately called a backup trader, who executed the sales.
Burr himself dumped more than $1.6 million in stocks prior to calling Fauth in February 2020, a week before the COVID-19-related market crash. The SEC has alleged that Burr obtained his insider information from his role as then-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a member of its health committee, and through former staffers involved in the government response to the virus.
ProPublica previously reported that Burr and Fauth, a Trump appointee to the National Mediation Board, dumped their stock on the same day. Fauth sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies, including several that were majorly impacted by the economic downturn. The SEC’s insider trading investigation into the brothers-in-law is ongoing.