In Light of New Information, Public Citizen Renews Call for Investigation Into HHS Nominee’s Stock Trading Activity

Jan. 18, 2017

In Light of New Information, Public Citizen Renews Call for Investigation Into HHS Nominee’s Stock Trading Activity

Public Citizen Sends Updated Letter Calling for OCE and SEC to Investigate; Latest Report Adds to Conflict of Interest Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In light of new information about the stock trading activity of U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Public Citizen today filed an amended letter calling on the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate.

On Jan. 5, Public Citizen sent the agencies a letter requesting an investigation into the stock market trading activities of Price and Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) for possible violations of insider trading and conflicts of interest laws and regulations

Revelations of additional questionable stock trading activities by Price, reported by CNN on Jan. 16, raise more concerns that need be investigated, Public Citizen said in its letter today. Price is having a confirmation hearing today to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

CNN reported that in March, Price purchased up to $15,000 worth of shares in Zimmer Biomet, a medical device maker. Less than a week later, Price introduced the HIP Act, legislation designed to prevent implementation of a new regulation that was expected to hurt Zimmer Biomet’s business.

The legislation appears to have been very narrow in scope, delaying a regulation that would directly affect the price of hip and knee implants, the very medical devices produced by Zimmer Biomet and a handful of other companies.

If this legislation were introduced for the express purpose of benefitting Zimmer Biomet – and thus benefitting the stock investments of Price – this would constitute a violation both of congressional ethics rules and federal law that prohibit the use of public office for personal gain, Public Citizen’s letter said.

“The latest revelation about Rep. Price’s stock trading activity in an industry that Price oversees as congressmen raises a big red flag,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “While the information we have falls short of hard evidence needed to establish insider trading, the patterns of trading activity warrant further investigation to determine if it occurred.”

Since 2009, according to congressional financial disclosure reports, Price has made more than 630 trades on the stock market, many of which involve the pharmaceutical and health care sectors that Price oversees as chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee and as a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

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