Wyden, Murray Press Price on Stock Brokerage Details
Multiple Accounts Raise Questions about HHS Nominee’s Controversial Stock Buys
WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., sent a letter to Congressman Tom Price, nominee to be Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), asking for additional details on his controversial investments in health care stocks and the accounts and brokerage agreements that facilitated those investments, which have been made available to the press.
“Congressman Price’s remarks at his hearing last week raised yet more questions about his investment practices in health care stocks,” Wyden said. “We need to understand the nature of all of Congressman Price’s accounts and the management agreements that govern them to determine how these health care trades were made and whether his broker’s role has any bearing on his compliance with House ethics rules.”
“The next Secretary of Health and Human Services will have enormous impact on the health and wellbeing of families nationwide, and we owe it to those families to ensure the person taking on this role will put their interests first,” said Murray. “Given the conflicting answers we received to our limited questions at last week’s hearing, there are still serious ethical concerns surrounding Congressman Price’s stock trades, and we are asking for more information about the Congressman’s brokerage agreements to ensure we have as much information as possible about which financial decisions he made and why.”
The letter comes following a series of statements from Price and others that sent mixed messages about his investment arrangements and how those controversial investments were made. According to his financial disclosures, Price had at least two accounts in which health care stocks were held. The letter requests information on both of those accounts and any others that may hold individual health care stocks.
In response to questions from Sen. Chris Murphy about his investments in pharmaceutical companies, Price stated, “I have a directed account broker, directed account. All of those trades were made without my knowledge, as is set up.” Having a broker make an investment does not automatically absolve Price from responsibility for the trade. Later in the hearing, Murray asked about Price’s decisions to purchase stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics. He responded, “I did it through a broker. I directed the broker to purchase the stock, but I did it through a broker.”
Over the past several weeks, press reports have detailed the questionable timing of significant stock purchases and legislative action such as the introduction of legislation that would have benefitted the companies he invested in.
The full letter can be found here.
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