Politics

Trump Officials Slam Insider Trading Accusations Against Tom Price

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

The Trump transition team is dismissing accusations that Rep. Tom Price of Georgia — the Department of Health and Human Services nominee — was involved in insider trading, suggesting that Democrats are playing partisan politics.

A CNN report Monday charged Price with buying between $1,001 and $15,000 in shares of Zimmer Biomet stock, just before he introduced legislation in 2015, which directly served the company. Biomet is a medical device manufacturer.

According to Trump transition spokesman Phil Blando, the report is misleading and a direct attempt to derail Price’s conformation.

“CNN recently broadcast a segment on Dr. Tom Price’s finances that was junk reporting,” he said in a statement. “Any effort to connect the introduction of bipartisan legislation by Dr. Price to any campaign contribution is demonstrably false.”

A number of Democrats in both the House and Senate have called for an ethics investigation into Price’s financial holdings and for additional witnesses to be present at his confirmation hearing.

“The only pattern we see emerging is that Senate Democrats and their liberal media allies cannot abide the notion that Dr. Tom Price is uniquely qualified to lead HHS and will stop at nothing to smear his reputation,” Blando continued.

Trump transition sources argue the accusations are baseless since the stock purchases were broker-directed, and conducted to diversify Price’s larger portfolio. Price reportedly wasn’t aware the purchase was made until April 2016 — long after the legislation was introduced.

“Dr. Price’s financial advisor periodically rebalances his portfolio to ensure proper diversification,” the source said. “On March 17, 2016, Morgan Stanley undertook a comprehensive rebalancing of Dr. Price’s portfolio.  In the course of that rebalancing, the advisor purchased 26 shares of Zimmer Biomet, worth $2,697.74, on behalf of Dr. Price.”

Price, a physician turned congressman, would be tasked with leading the charge on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

The confirmation hearing is slated to take place Wednesday.

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