The Justice Department is ending its investigation of three senators who sold stocks early in the coronavirus pandemic, but is still investigating Sen. Richard Burr, according to a report.
Defense attorneys for Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) are being informed Tuesday of the decision, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The trio sold large amounts of stocks before the markets crashed, but denied wrongdoing.
The FBI this month served a warrant on Burr, a retiring North Carolina Republican, and took his cellphone. Burr recently stepped down as chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, a perch from which he received COVID-19 reports from spy agencies.
The stock sales of the four senators stoked public furore as ordinary Americans incurred steep drops in their accounts.
Loeffler made large sales after she attended a private coronavirus briefing for senators on Jan. 24, but she insisted that third-party advisers handled stock sales for her and her husband, New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher.
Feinstein and Inhofe protested that they didn’t even attend the Jan. 24 briefing.
Loeffler and Feinstein acknowledged this month that they complied with federal requests for information. Feinstein’s office said she was questioned by the FBI and a Loeffler spokesperson said she “forwarded documents and information to DOJ, the [Securities and Exchange Commission], and the Senate Ethics Committee.”
Spokesmen for Feinstein, Inhofe and Loeffler did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Burr declined to comment.
According to mandatory Senate filings, Feinstein sold $500,001 to $1 million worth of stock in a company called Allogene Therapeutics on Jan. 31, less than a month before panic about the virus caused markets to plunge. Her husband sold $1,000,001 to $5 million worth of Allogene shares on Feb. 18, according to financial disclosures.
Inhofe sold as much as $400,000 worth of stock on Jan. 27, including shares in five different companies including Apple, PayPal and Brookfield Asset Management, according to a disclosure report. Inhofe said he instructed brokers to sell all of his stocks shortly after he became chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2018 and that the process took time.
Loeffler and her husband sold about $20 million in stock from Jan. 24, including major trades in her husband’s company’s stock and sales of retailers Lululemon, T.J. Maxx and Ross Stores. She reportedly bought shares in the tech firm Oracle and Citrix, which provides teleworking software.
Burr publicly downplayed the threat of the virus while selling up to $1.7 million in stock.