Sen. Richard Burr Was Buying And Selling Stocks In An Industry He Regulates

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

By Billy Ball

April 28, 2020

New ProPublica report offers latest examination of North Carolina senator’s problematic ties. 

Sen. Richard Burr is under fire. Again.

ProPublica published another examination of the Republican senator’s finances late Monday, reporting that the North Carolina senator has been regularly buying and selling stocks in the healthcare industry, an industry he regulates in the United States Senate. 

Two things that must be said upfront: 

Richard Burr is not the only senator or congressperson financially intangled with an industry they legislate and stump for in D.C. Not by a long shot. 

But the things ProPublica is uncovering about Burr examine the holes in the laws that dictate whether or not legislators can profit from the businesses they govern.

The publication also uncovered evidence that Burr — who sits on top intelligence committees in the Senate — sold off $1.6 million in stocks following COVID-19 briefings, days after assuring the public of their safety. 

Their reporting also uncovered Burr’s problematic sale of a D.C. townhouse to a donor and lobbyist with business before his committee. 

For an excerpt of Monday’s ProPublica report, read below. But for the entirety of the story, click here.

From the ProPublica report: 

In his 15 years in the Senate, Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, has been one of the health care industry’s staunchest friends.

Serving on the health care and finance committees, Burr advocated to end the tax on medical device makers, one of the industry’s most-detested aspects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. He pushed the Food and Drug Administration to speed up its approval process. As one of the most prominent Republican health care policy thinkers, he has sponsored or co-sponsored dozens of health-related bills, including a proposal to replace “Obamacare.” He oversaw the implementation of major legislation to pump taxpayer money into private sector initiatives to address public health threats. “The industry feels very positive about Sen. Burr,” the president of North Carolina’s bioscience trade group said during Burr’s last reelection campaign. “He’s done a stellar job.”

Burr also trades in and out of the industry’s stocks.


  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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