Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), who co-authored a five-year-old law governing investments by members of Congress and requiring public disclosure of their transactions, on Tuesday asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to look into whether Price used inside information he obtained as a member of Congress to enrich himself.
“Congressman Price made hundreds of stock trades since those disclosures first became mandatory in 2012,” Slaughter wrote in a letter to the SEC. “The fact that these trades were were made and in many cases timed to achieve significant earnings or avoid losses would lead a reasonable person to question whether the transactions were triggered by insider knowledge.”
Slaughter’s move follows a call last week by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for the House Office of Congressional Ethics to conduct a similar investigation before Price’s confirmation can proceed. The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen formally filed a request with that office on Thursday.
Democrats haven’t provided any evidence that Price, the physician and six-term congressman tapped by President-elect Donald Trump for the Cabinet position, has violated the STOCK Act or any other laws. The STOCK Act permits members of Congress to make investments in the stock market so long as they report them, which Price did.
“With yet another politically motivated attack on Dr. Price, Democrats are showing just out of touch they are with the American people. The election is over. These charges are laughable. It is time for both parties to come together and address our nation’s serious problems, including enacting genuine patient-centered health reforms,” Phil Blando, a spokesman for the Trump transition, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.
According to a December report in The Wall Street Journal, Price made more than $300,000 in trades of health care companies affected by legislation he worked on or voted on over the past four years.
The Department of Health and Human Services touches nearly every part of the health care system through payments from programs like Medicare and Medicaid and regulations on health care companies.