SEC closes insider trading probe into former Republican senator

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission has closed its insider trading investigation into stock trades made by then-Sen. Richard Burr and his brother-in-law at the outset of the pandemic, the former senator announced Friday.

“This week, the SEC informed me that they have concluded their investigation with no action. I am glad to have this matter in the rearview mirror as I begin my retirement from the Senate following nearly three decades of public service,” Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said in a statement.

The announcement comes nearly two years after the Justice Department closed its own review of the matter, which was launched in March 2020, soon after questionably timed trades by Burr and other lawmakers became publicly known.

Burr sold $1.65 million in stock on February 13, 2020, previous court filings by the SEC revealed. The sales included tens of thousands of dollars in stock in the hospitality industry, which was particularly hard hit in coronavirus outbreak.

The SEC declined CNN’s request for comment.

The trades made by Burr and his brother-in-law first attracted scrutiny because of Burr’s position on Senate committees overseeing health policy and US intelligence. The Intelligence Committee, which Burr chaired at the time, had received periodic briefings on the coronavirus as the outbreak began to spread but it did not receive such a briefing the week of the trades.

The SEC previously said Burr possessed “material nonpublic information concerning Covid-19 and its potential impact on the U.S. and global economies.”

In the DOJ’s probe of the stock trade, Burr turned over his official Senate phone to the FBI after a warrant was served, an official confirmed to CNN at the time. Use of the warrant had been signed off at the highest levels of the Justice Department, as is protocol, according to the source.

The Senate-issued cellphone was Burr’s primary device and investigators had asked Apple for information from Burr’s iCloud backup, a person familiar with the investigation previously said.

Burr had consistently denied any wrongdoing, saying he made the trades based solely on public information, not information he received from the committee.


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