The DOJ has dropped its probe into 3 US senators who dumped stock work millions shortly before the coronavirus market crash

Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia in Washington, DC, on March 20.Reuters

The Department of Justice is dropping its investigation into three US senators accused of insider trading over stock sales made after they received closed-door briefings on the novel coronavirus.

The DOJ will not be filing any charges against Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, as well as Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

The Wall Street Journal broke the news of the dropped investigations on Tuesday.

It said Loeffler, Inhofe, and Feinstein all said the sales, in late January and early February, were made by investment managers acting without their direct input.

According to Forbes, Loeffler’s sales were valued between $1.275 million and $3.1 million, Inhofe’s at about $400,000, and Feinstein’s between $1.5 million and $6 million.

The sales came when markets were reaching a peak, toward the end of a years-long rally.

It ended in late February and turned into a sustained crash through March, propelled by the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and a simultaneous crash in global oil prices.

The investigations were made under the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, which bars elected officials from making trades on the basis of information that isn’t in the public sphere.

Officials continue to investigate Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina.

He made sales in late February that were worth up to $1.72 million, ProPublica reported. Much of the investments were in the hotel chains Wyndham and Extended Stay America.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina at a news conference in 2015.Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

According to the Journal report, Burr had a more direct role in his trades than the other senators.

Burr has said he made the trades based on news reports about the coronavirus rather than any information he had because of his role as a senator, The Journal noted.

Earlier in the month, Burr’s phone was seized by the FBI. He has temporarily stepped down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee while the investigation is being conducted.

Loeffler is the only one of the three senators no longer under DOJ investigation who is up for reelection in November.