The Justice Department is closing its investigation into stock trades made by Sens. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., shortly before markets plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic, congressional sources confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday. However, the Justice Department is continuing its investigation into Sen. Richard Burr’s stock sales of up to $1.7 million.
The FBI in March began investigating all of the stock sales, which were made in late January and early February. The intense scrutiny came as a result of the timing of the stock trades they made — as members of Congress were being briefed on the potential severity of the coming crisis, but before many in the general public were fully aware of the havoc the virus could wreak on the U.S. economy.
Members of Congress are prohibited from using non-public information for personal profit under the STOCK Act which is meant to combat insider trading by lawmakers. The law, which Burr voted against when it passed in 2012, carries both civil and criminal penalties.
Burr, a Republican senator from North Carolina, has defended his decision to sell and said he relied solely on public news reports to guide his moves.
Loeffler, Inhofe and Feinstein denied any involvement in the sales.
Loeffler’s communication director for her reelection campaign said in a statement to ABC News Tuesday that the move was a “clear exoneration.”
“Today’s clear exoneration by the Department of Justice affirms what Senator Loeffler has said all along — she did nothing wrong,” Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s campaign spokesperson said. “This was a politically-motivated attack shamelessly promoted by the fake news media and her political opponents. Senator Loeffler will continue to focus her full attention on delivering results for Georgians.”
The Department of Justice declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the three investigations were being closed.
Earlier this month, the FBI seized Burr’s cellphone as part of its ongoing investigation and the senator temporarily stepped aside as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee to to avoid the “distraction” from the panel’s work. Burr had also requested a full review of the sales by the Senate Ethics Committee.
He also faces a lawsuit from other investors, alleging that he used inside information in the sales.
ABC News’ Matthew Mosk, Alexander Mallin and Lucien Bruggeman contributed to this report.