Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) temporarily stepped down from the chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, effective at the end of the day on May 15. Burr’s decision to resign was announced one day after the FBI served him a search warrant at his residence in Washington, D.C.
Burr is one of several U.S. senators under federal investigation for alleged insider trading leading up to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 19, 2020, ProPublica alleged that Burr, along with some other senators, traded stocks after receiving information in a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing related to the effect the coronavirus outbreak will have on the American economy. The allegations stated that Burr sold between $600,000 and $1,800,000 in stocks before the stock market dipped more than 30% due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the stock market.
Burr sold 33 stocks on March 13, 2020, many of which were shares in companies hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. He responded to allegations of wrongdoing saying he only relied on publicly available information to make the trades and requested they be reviewed by the Senate Ethics Committee.
On May 13, federal agents searched Burr’s home and took possession of his cell phone. Spokespersons from the FBI, Department of Justice, and Burr’s office all declined to comment on the recent events in the investigation.