Richard Burr’s brother-in-law also sold stocks on same day before crash

Sen. Richard Burr and his brother-in-law reportedly dumped stocks on the same day before the coronavirus crisis sent global markets into a tailspin. National Mediation Board member Gerald Fauth — the brother of Burr’s wife — sold as much as $280,000 in shares on Feb. 13, roughly a week before the virus triggered a historic …

Sen. Richard Burr and his brother-in-law reportedly dumped stocks on the same day before the coronavirus crisis sent global markets into a tailspin.

National Mediation Board member Gerald Fauth — the brother of Burr’s wife — sold as much as $280,000 in shares on Feb. 13, roughly a week before the virus triggered a historic market crash, ProPublica reported Wednesday.

That’s also the day that Burr, a North Carolina Republican, sold up to $1.7 million of his stock portfolio as he received daily briefings on the coronavirus. Those trades have led to a Justice Department investigation, a lawsuit and calls for Burr’s resignation.

Fauth dumped shares in six companies that have taken a beating amid the pandemic, according to a financial disclosure form ProPublica published.

The timing of the sale helped him avoid up to $118,000 in losses, the outlet reported.

The largest trade was for $50,001 to $100,000 worth of stock in Mondelez International, which owns snack brands such as Ritz and Chips Ahoy. The company’s share price closed at $59.03 on Feb. 13 before plunging 30 percent to a low of $41.19 in March.

Fauth also sold shares in oil giants Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which have suffered amid a historic plunge in oil prices partly caused by the pandemic. And shares in tobacco giant Altria and upscale retailer Williams-Sonoma tumbled as much as 32 and 64 percent, respectively, after Fauth sold stakes in the companies.

Neither the National Mediation Board nor Burr’s office immediately responded to emails asking whether Burr and Fauth communicated before the stock sales.

Burr has said his trades were guided only by public news reports about the virus crisis, particularly reporting out of CNBC’s Asia bureaus.

President Trump appointed Fauth in 2017 to the National Mediation Board, which handles labor issues in the railroad and airline industries. Fauth previously served at the US Surface Transportation Board and as president of his family’s consulting firm, G.W. Fauth & Associates.

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