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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 20, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 03
Swamp thing: HHS nominee Tom Price accused of insider trading
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Swamp thing: HHS nominee Tom Price accused of insider trading

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In spite of Donald Trump's vow to 'drain the swamp' of corruption and crony capitalism, his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, now stands accused of insider trading.

According to a report first aired by CNN on January 16, Price bought shares in the biotech company Zimmer Biomet and less than a week later introduced legislation that would benefit the company.

Zimmer Biomet later made a substantial donation to Price's re-election campaign, CNN said.

According to House disclosure records, Price bought Zimmer Biomet stock worth between $1,001 and $15,000. He then introduced a measure known as the Hospital Improvements for Payment (HIP) Act.

The bill was designed to delay enforcement of a federal regulation that would affect the price of hip and knee replacements, Zimmer Biomet's specialty.

Records also show that after the introduction of the HIP Act, the company's political action committee donated to Price's re-election campaign.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement January 17 demanding 'an immediate and thorough investigation into these potential violations of the STOCK Act before Rep. Price's nomination moves forward.'

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act was designed to combat insider trading among members of Congress.

'This new report makes clear that this isn't just a couple of questionable trades, but rather a clear and troubling pattern of Congressman Price trading stock and using his office to benefit the companies in which he is investing,' Schumer said.

'The President-elect claims he wants to drain the swamp, but Congressman Price has spent his career filling it up.'

In a statement also issued January 17, Zimmer Biomet said that it had no knowledge of Price's stock purchase, and that it was not involved in the introduction of the HIP Act.

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that Price traded more than $300,000 in health care stocks over the last four years while advocating or sponsoring bills that could have affected the revenues of companies he had invested in.

As a result of the story, Price announced earlier this month that he would divest from 43 companies, including Zimmer Biomet, within three months of being confirmed by the Senate. He has also promised to 'not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter' involving companies in which he had not fully divested.

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