Responding to a new report from ProPublica today, NCDP Chairman Wayne Goodwin slammed Senator Richard Burr for a private transaction in which Burr sold his Washington, D.C. townhouse to a longtime lobbyist for above market value.
According to the story, Burr sold the house to lobbyist John Green for “tens of thousands of dollars above some estimates of the property’s value by tax assessors, a real estate website and a local real estate agent.” Green is a longtime donor to Burr’s political campaigns and lobbied on behalf of “on behalf of a stream of clients with business before Burr’s committees.” Burr appears to have used the proceeds from the sale to buy a beach house.
In response to the report, Goodwin reiterated earlier calls for Burr to resign over revelations that the Senator sold off stock before the full economic impact of the coronavirus had become clear.
“Today’s report shines light on the latest in a string of shady deals in which Senator Burr has clearly used his office and influence for personal gain,” said NCDP Chairman Wayne Goodwin. “Our elected officials swear an oath to serve their constituents — not themselves. Senator Burr has betrayed the trust of North Carolinians and has no business representing them in the U.S. Senate. He should resign immediately.”
Noting that the legality of the scheme “hinges on whether the home was purchased for fair market value,” the story quotes several ethics experts who say the deal is deeply troubling:
- “This appears to be extremely problematic.” —Kedric Payne, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center and former deputy chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics
- “This has every appearance of being a violation of the gift ban … The gift ban is one of the most basic legal frameworks for preventing corruption. Lobbyist gifts to lawmakers is akin to a bribe.” — Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen
Senator Burr continues to come under fire for numerous scandals demonstrating that he has looked out for himself and not North Carolinians. Burr told donors — not the public — about the extent of the coronavirus threat, sold stock ahead of a market sell-off after receiving private briefings, and sold a stake in a Dutch fertilizer company before its stock tanked.
Read the full story from ProPublica HERE.