Dianne Feinstein, 3 Senate colleagues sold off stocks before coronavirus crash: reports
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and three of her Senate colleagues sold off stocks worth millions of dollars in the days before the coronavirus outbreak crashed the market, according to reports.
The data is listed on a U.S. Senate website containing financial disclosures from Senate members.
Feinstein, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported.
When questioned by the newspaper, a spokesman for the Democrat from San Francisco said Feinstein wasn’t directly involved in the sale.
“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” the spokesman, Tom Mentzer, told the Times. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”
Reports identified the three other senators as Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, all Republicans.
Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, used more than 30 transactions to dump between $628,000 and $1.72 million on Feb. 13, according to ProPublica.
The report said the transactions involved a significant percentage of the senator’s holdings and took place about a week before the impact of the virus outbreak sent stock prices plunging to the point where gains made during President Trump’s term in office were largely erased.
“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 said. “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.”
On Friday, the senator tweeted an updated statement saying he relied only on “public news reports” to guide his decision on the sale. Still, he said he’s asked for a Senate Ethics Committee review of his actions.
Burr was an author of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, a law that helps determine the federal response to situations such as the coronavirus outbreak, ProPublica reported. Burr’s office would not comment on what kind of information Burr might have received about coronavirus prior to his stock sales, the outlet reported.