Tom Price nomination: Trump pick accused of insider trading

Brittany BishopJan 18, 2017

Price is slated for a Senate confirmation hearing tomorrow.

Just days later, Price introduced legislation to delay the implementation of a new Medicare and Medicaid regulation that would have seriously hurt Zimmer Biomet's finances, CNN said.

House records reveal that in March of past year, Price purchased between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of stock in the Indiana-based medical device device maker Zimmer Biomet, CNN reports.

"It clearly has the appearance of using your influence as a congressman to your financial benefit", Larry Noble, general counsel at the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, told CNN, adding that government officials are held to a higher standard and "you are supposed to work for the public not yourself". Zimmer-Biomet and another large manufacturer of hip and knee replacement devices stood to lose the most from the new rule.

For more than a year, Price, a wealthy orthopedic surgeon who was picked by Trump to help lead the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, had complained that CMS's proposed reduced Medicare payments for hip and knee replacements threatened hospitals and medical providers. Records show that after the introduction of the measure, the company's political action committee donated to Price's reelection campaign. Concerns over insider trading on Capitol Hill - where members of Congress allegedly traded stock based on intelligence gleaned from the legislative process - prompted the enactment of the STOCK Act in 2012 aimed at combating the practice.

Days later, he introduced legislation to the House of Representatives that would have delayed a regulation that could have ultimately damaged the company, CNN said.

"I write to ask that your office immediately investigate whether Tom Price ... violated the STOCK Act and other federal laws in the purchase and sale of shares of a medical device manufacturer", Gillibrand wrote.

"Any effort to connect the introduction of bipartisan legislation by Dr. Price to any campaign contribution is demonstrably false", Phil Blando, transition spokesman, told the media outlet.

He bought between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of stock, according to House records reviewed by the network.

Importantly, Price played no role in the decision to purchase the stock, which was executed under a broker-directed account by Morgan Stanley, according to a knowledgeable source.

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

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