Why Insider Trading is and should remain a serious crime

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican,  sold up to $1.6 million in stock after receiving information about the coronavirus. He was privy to this information solely due to his position as chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The information was not public. Only because of his access to private briefings in his committee did he know about the dangers ahead for America. He rightly observed that this information, when publicly known, could result in a stock market decline.

Every sale of stock on the NYSE involves a buyer. If derogatory information is known to the seller, due to his “inside”position, then until that information becomes public the holder may not execute sales of stock. If he does this he is cheating the buyer who would not have bought the shares had he known what the seller knew.  So long as such information remains privy only to insiders such as Senator Burr, investors without those connections can easily be tricked into buying stock that will shortly lose substantial value. If the buyer knows what the seller knows he will likely not make the buy, and if he does he will have no right to complain.

That’s not the case here. The stock sale was executed on the NYSE and the stock went into the account of one or more buyers, none of whom knew nor could have known through diligent efforts what Burr knew. The Result is that Senator Burr got to keep the value of his stock by turning it into cash in the nick of time. The innocent buyers had to take the loss.

That’s why it’s a serious crime. Senator Burr should be required to make whole anyone who bought the stock he sold. Then he should be convicted of the felony that he committed. He should resign from the Senate. He could go to prison for what he did. We won’t hold our breath for that.

Senator Burr is supposedly a Republican but I’d say he’s a RINO, a Republican in name only. He works more easily with Democrats to the detriment of his fellow Republicans and to the detriment of conservative polices that most Republicans support. Under his leadership the Senate Intelligence Committee has done more harm that good. It often sided with the phony and preposterous Mueller investigation of President Trump. The entire country was held hostage while the Democrats tried and failed to find any collusion between Trump and the Russians. Burr should be cashiered out of the GOP for those traitorous acts alone.

Molly Hemingway has a piece today at the Federalist in which she lays out all of Burr’s efforts to undermine Trump and other Republicans. It figures that his fraudulent insider trading is just the tip of the iceberg that is this unprincipled man.

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