RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized a cellphone belonging to North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr as part of a probe into controversial stock sales at the induction of COVID-19 in the United States, a law enforcement official told the LA Times.
On Wednesday, Burr, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, turned over his phone as federal agents served a search warrant at his Washington, D.C. home.
The FBI reached out to Burr in late March to determine whether he exploited advance information when he dumped as much as $1.7 million in stocks in the days before the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the economy.
Burr’s selloff amounted to between $628,000 and $1.72 million. The stock sales were first reported by ProPublica and The Center for Responsive Politics. He was one of several senators whose financial dealings generated scrutiny in recent months.
Burr has denied wrongdoing and requested an ethics review of the stock sales.
In a statement, Alice Fisher, an attorney for Burr, said, “The law is clear that any American -– including a Senator -– may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did.
Burr has acknowledged selling the stocks because of the coronavirus but said he relied “solely on public news reports,” specifically CNBC’s daily health and science reporting out of Asia, to make the financial decisions.
There is no indication that Burr, whose six-year term ends in 2023 and who does not plan to run for reelection, was acting on inside information.
Burr’s office declined to comment on the matter.