Publisher's note: The author of this post is Sam Hieb for the John Locke Foundation.
Sen. Richard Burr's hometown newspaper-the Winston-Salem Journal-weighs in
on the recent controversy
surrounding North Carolina's senior senator:
- ProPublica named other legislators who may have benefited by selling off stock before warning the public about the serious pandemic. But Burr is our senator - he represents our interests and our reputation. Which calls into question whom Burr thinks he serves in Washington: His constituents or himself?
- By Friday morning, members of the public and the media, including some that are usually more forgiving to Republicans, were calling for Burr's resignation.
- Also on Friday, Burr asked the Senate Ethics Committee to review his stock sales. We'll be interested in any resulting report.
- But even complete exoneration on his stock sales would leave open the more urgent question of whether Burr withheld important information from the public - information that could have saved lives.
Politico explains why Burr's actions are easier to condemn than prosecute
- To prove Burr engaged in insider trading, the government would have to prove that he had information that-if the public knew it as well-would have caused a significant change in the price of stocks that he sold. That will involve an investigator closely looking at the details of the private briefings Burr received to find some piece of information that was not known by the public that was so important that it would have changed stock prices.
- It's worth noting that despite Trump's attempt to mislead the public, there was a lot of public information available at that time about the general threat of the coronavirus. It's no surprise Burr now claims he "closely followed CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at that time," and relied "solely on public news reports."
Stay tuned. My gut tells me Burr will ride this out-too much else going on.