This is what corruption looks like (or: why HHS nominee Tom Price should withdraw)

Kudos to CNN for breaking this story! Here’s the short version:

  • Representative Price bought shares (somewhere between $1K and $15K worth) in Zimmer Biomet, a medical device manufacturer
  • Less than a week later he introduced a bill that would significantly help them (one of two companies that would be most affected by the bill)
  • Three months later, Zimmer Biomet contributed $1K to Price’s reelection campaign

Sadly, that last part is not only legal but seems to be the way things work. But buying stock based on insider knowledge seems to be a violation of the STOCK act.

And lest this sound like a one-time affair:

The new revelation is the latest example of Price trading stock in a healthcare firm at the same time as pursuing legislation that could impact a company’s share price. The issue has become a major liability for the congressman after The Wall Street Journal reported last month that he traded roughly $300,000 in shares over the past four years in health companies while pursuing legislation that could impact them.

To be fair, an aide has said that the stock was purchased without Price’s knowledge. But that seems to be just a semi-anonymous source (i.e. I haven’t seen any proof), and anyway the appearance of corruption is also not good, and we should hold government officials to a higher standard.

This story broke a few days ago and I haven’t heard any talk of Price withdrawing, which surprises me. This is unacceptable!

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