PATERSON, NJ – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton to open immediate investigations into possible insider trading by members of the United States Senate. Pascrell’s letter comes after media investigations identified certain senators who conducted large stock sell-offs in the immediate days after receiving a special January 24, 2020 briefing on the COVID-19 epidemic in China.

“These activities raise unsettling questions on whether these or other members engaged in insider trading in violation of law, such as the STOCK Act and other statutes, based on information they heard about the COVID-19 epidemic and potential impacts to the United States. I call on both of your offices to open immediate and wide-reaching inquiries into whether these individuals or any other members of the United States Congress used advance information of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to obtain personal profit for themselves, their families, or associates,” Pascrell writes.

Pascrell also urged Barr and Clayton to investigate possible insider trading by members of the Trump administration and their families. “To ensure full transparency, I urge you review the stock activities of all senior Trump administration officials, including the President, to ensure insider information was not used to benefit themselves, other family members, or associates,” he writes.

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A copy of Rep. Pascrell’s letter is available here, the text of which is provided below.

 

March 20, 2020

 

William P. Barr

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20530

 

Jay Clayton

Chairman

Securities and Exchange Commission

100 F St NE

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

Dear General Barr and Chairman Clayton:

 

On January 24, 2020, the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a briefing for all members of the United States Senate which included presentations by prominent members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the COVID-19 epidemic then ravaging China. Reports on March 19, 2020 documented that in the immediate days following the briefing, certain U.S. Senators conducted large stock sell-offs.

These activities raise unsettling questions on whether these or other members engaged in insider trading in violation of law, such as the STOCK Act and other statutes, based on information they heard about the COVID-19 epidemic and potential impacts to the United States. I call on both of your offices to open immediate and wide-reaching inquiries into whether these individuals or any other members of the United States Congress used advance information of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to obtain personal profit for themselves, their families, or associates. To assure full transparency, I urge you review the stock activities of all senior Trump administration officials, including the President, to ensure insider information was not used to benefit themselves, other family members, or associates.

If public servants used their positions for naked financial gain under these circumstances, it would represent a grave breach of faith that could fatally destabilize public trust in our political institutions at an already-fraught moment. Your responsibility for incisive investigation and harsh sanctions for any lawbreaking is therefore essential. I look forward to your response.