Billy Frist's stock trading problems are very real, here to stay, and will end his political career. Here's why:
Frist is under investigation by the SEC and US Attorney's office for illegally trading in his family stock (HCA) . Did he trade on inside information? Did he break any security laws? Will he be indicted? When it comes to his political future, the answers to those questions don't really matter. And that's Frist's real problem, and one he can do absolutely nothing about.
As the Washington Post highlighted today on page one, documents definitively show Frist publicly lied many times about what he knew and when he knew it regarding his ownership and the trading of his family stock.
Frist in January 2003:
"I think really for our viewers it should be understood that I put this into a blind trust. So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock." The trust was "totally blind. I have no control."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family's hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.
Lying is an offense that is easy for both the voting public and the media to understand. And nobody likes a liar. It's also a much easier offense to grasp than security law violations. That's why this story isn't going away. I know you're thinking politicians lie all the time and get away with it. But this is different. Frist is the Majority Leader of the US Senate and likes to hide behind his MD title whenever it's helpful to do so. (But I have a feeling people think it's extra bad when doctors lie, so all of a sudden being an MD might actually work against him.)
Here's what Senator Lott had to say about Frist's character:
Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether Frist, who challenged and succeeded Lott as Senate majority leader in 2002, has the character to be president, Lott paused before answering. "I think I'd have to think about that"... Lott said "a lot of good people out there" are thinking about whether to run and that "I probably would lean toward some of the others, let me just put it that way."
So what should Billy Frist do? Forget about a future in politics that's for sure, and perhaps a little soul searching for another.