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Title: Justice Department Looking Into Senator's Stock Sell-Off
Source: NPR
URL Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/31/8249 ... ng-into-senators-stock-selloff
Published: Apr 21, 2020
Author: Staff
Post Date: 2020-04-01 00:57:03 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 90
Comments: 3

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold off a large amount of stocks before the coronavirus market crash, and now the Justice Department is looking into his statements around this time period, NPR can report.

Media outlets including CNN, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press have also reported that the FBI has reached out to Burr to assess whether he made stock sales based on nonpublic information.

NPR first broke news of a secret recording in which Burr, R-N.C., privately warned well-connected constituents in February about how bad the coronavirus crisis would become.

ProPublica then reported that the senator dumped up to $1.7 million in stocks, while assuring the public that the U.S. was well positioned to withstand a pandemic.

An insider trading investigation hinges on whether a person made stock transactions based on relevant private information.

As chairman of the Intelligence Committee and a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Burr may have received private information about the coming pandemic.

"Was [that information] something that you and I, if we were shareholders of that company, would have reasonably expected it to be considered significant at the time?" said Doug Davison, a former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement lawyer, laying out a key question that investigators would have. "The investigation needs to be surgical in the sense that you need to really focus like a laser on what information was provided to the Congress folks. Was it material? Was it nonpublic?"

Burr's stock transactions — 33 on a single day: Feb. 13 — present a unique challenge for investigators because he is a member of Congress.

First, as chair of the Intelligence Committee, the senator may have been privy to classified information, which complicates an investigation.

Second, as a senator, Burr may be able to cite the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution, which gives lawmakers protections related to their official duties.

"It's a provision in the Constitution that is designed to give members of Congress freedom to debate, deliberate, to speak without fear of intimidation or threats from the executive branch," said Katie Goldstein, who formerly headed up the investigations into securities fraud in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. "There could potentially be litigation over ... briefing materials that may have been provided to senators or congressmen. If it was provided for the purpose of their committee work or introducing legislation, you could see litigation being raised as a shield [from] having to produce those kinds of materials."

Third, insider trading investigations typically center on a single company and specific information. The information Burr received may have been about general economic concerns, and his sell-off involved a broad unloading of stocks across numerous economic sectors.

"It's not prohibitive in terms of making a case, but it certainly is harder when it is generalized information like that," said Joon Kim, the former acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

But Kim added that these types of challenges are generally not the main focus of investigators.

"The DOJ and SEC don't go into investigations saying, 'Oh, this is...going to be challenging, so let's not do it,' " Kim told NPR. "You go in saying, 'Is there something here that deserves investigation?' ... It seems like they have concluded that it does deserve investigation."

And Goldstein explained that there are ways investigators could handle issues like classified information or the Speech or Debate Clause: by finding information that showed a subject's state of mind when that person made stock transactions, such as "an email that someone sends to someone else or a text message or a phone call that...someone has with a third party like their broker or a friend. ... With a court order or by finding the right person to interview, the government can get their hands on [that information]."

Burr has previously said he made all of his trading decisions based on public information he learned from watching CNBC.

"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's lawyer, Alice Fisher, emphasized in a statement. "Senator Burr welcomes a thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate."

Burr has also asked for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate his conduct. That secretive committee did not respond to an NPR inquiry.

Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department declined to comment.

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#1. To: Gatlin (#0)

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold off a large amount of stocks before the coronavirus market crash, and now the Justice Department is looking into his statements around this time period, NPR can report.

Effing Democrats - all of them effing crooks!

NPR first broke news of a secret recording in which Burr, R-N.C., privately warned well-connected constituents in February about how bad the coronavirus crisis would become.

Wait, what - he's a Republican?

Never mind - let's give him a pass. I'm sure he was only doing what's best for the country. < / sarcasm >

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-04-01   6:04:35 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#1) (Edited)

The headline states:

Justice Department Looking Into Senator's Stock Sell-Off.

Definition of looking into something:

To try to find out the truth about a problem, crime etc in order to solve it.

Insider trading of stocks is being looked into by the Justice Department.

Insider trading is defined as:

The illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one's own advantage through having access to confidential information.

Rational Objectivity:

It's possible to be irrational without realizing it. Such a person can then be expected to misjudge what they rationally ought to do. So it's unsurprising that in some situations (e.g. if one is sufficiently muddle-headed), one has little hope of acting rationally. On the contrary, we should object to any theory that implied the opposite. If a theory implies that people can always work out what they (rationally) should do, no matter how muddle-headed they might be, something has gone wrong. It can't be a true theory of rationality, because rationality is sufficiently objective to allow the possibility of a 'no-hoper' - - a person so incompetent as to be beyond the reach of rational guidance.

I bring this up because people are sometimes tempted to treat rationality in an excessively subjective fashion. (See, e.g., here and here.) People say things like, "How could Bob be rationally required to believe that P, if he has misinterpreted the evidence in such a way that he's led to think it supports not-P instead?" (Imagine Bob is a counter-inductivist. He notes that the sun has risen every day in the past, and misinterprets this evidence as supporting the proposition that it will not rise tomorrow.) The answer, naturally, is that Bob's mangling of the evidence has led him astray. It's true that Bob doesn't realize this. There are no alarm bells ringing in his head. But that doesn't mean Bob is somehow rational after all. It merely means he's unaware of his own incompetence. He really should believe that P - that's what the evidence supports - no matter his failure to recognize this epistemic requirement. Ignorance is no excuse.

All this is to say that we should expect the possibility of a situation in which we're beyond the reach of rational guidance. Again, I hear people object to some proposed rational rule R, "but in some situations I will lack the competence to reliably follow rule R; I confuse it with P and Q; my best attempts will not be good enough." This is true, but it is not an objection. Trying hard is not enough to make one rational. This is entirely to be expected.

Now, there may be multiple standards of rationality, corresponding to different degrees of objectivity or idealization. In addition to the ideal norms followed by a perfectly rational agent, we may also need non-ideal norms to guide imperfect agents like ourselves. But my point is that even these must have some minimal degree of objectivity to them. Any norm for which effort entails success is not any kind of rational norm at all. Any rule that can infallibly be followed (no matter how muddle-headed the agent) is too empty to qualify as a genuine rule of rationality. If there's any real substance there, then we must be prepared to admit the possibility of no-hopers: people who violate the norms without realizing it, and so predictably fail to understand rationality's recommendations - or follow its guidance - despite their best efforts. to try to find out the truth about a problem, crime etc in order to solve it.

Deckard, you really need to start using “Rational Objectivity” and stop instantly assuming someone is guilty of some crime or has done something wrong merely by reading an article.

That is your “sage wisdom thought of the day” presented by a “profoundly wise person” …

I will have a further observation follow-up for you – Wait for it.

Gatlin  posted on  2020-04-01   9:16:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Gatlin (#2)

Grow a frigging sense of humor!

I will have a further observation follow-up for you – Wait for it.

No thanks.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-04-01   10:50:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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