Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday night renewed his calls on the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an investigation into potential violations of the STOCK Act by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the department of Health and Human Services.
“The President-elect claims he wants to drain the swamp, but Congressman Price has spent his career filling it up,” Schumer said.
Schumer, who made the comments in a statement and on Twitter, was responding to a CNN report published earlier in the day alleging that Price had purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer last March “days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company.” CNN also reported that the company’s political action committee donated to the congressman’s re-election campaign after the legislation was introduced.
The STOCK Act permits members of Congress to make investments in the stock market as long as they report them, and prevents them from making investment decisions based on insider information they might come across because of their congressional role.
A spokesman for the Trump transition team told the New York Times that a broker had made the stock purchase, and Price “had no knowledge or input” into it.
In a letter to the HHS ethics committee sent last week, Price pledged to divest from 43 publicly traded companies to avoid conflicts of interest.
After the Wall Street Journal reported in December that Price had traded stocks in dozens of health industry companies while sponsoring or co-sponsoring legislation involving the industry, Schumer similarly requested an investigation.
At the time, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen formally filed a request with the Office of Congressional Ethics to look into the stock purchases and requested the Securities and Exchange Commission look into Price’s investments.
Price is the current head of the House budget committee. He is set to appear before the Senate health committee on Wednesday for his confirmation hearing.