Donald Trump’s health secretary choice is coming under fire on the grounds of ethics. Trump has chosen Rep. Tom Price as Health and Human Services secretary. This has prompted various groups into action.
Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group has filed an official complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday to begin a formal investigation into Price. They also requested the Securities and Exchange Commission to look at his investments, a move that Price has no objections to.
Congress member, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said at a press conference about the issue, “Congressman Price had the influence and was actively involved in pushing health care policies while simultaneously making dozens of trades in companies that would be impacted by those policies.
“We don’t know if he broke the law, but there are certainly enough serious questions to warrant a serious investigation before any hearing is held on Congressman Price to become secretary of HHS.”
A Wall Street Journal report published in December shows that Price executed more than $300,000 in trades, all of which was in health care companies affected by legislation he worked on or voted for over a four year period. His new position if he is allowed to take it will see him oversee, Medicare, Medicade, and the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges.
Members of Congress are allowed to trade stocks providing they disclose their investments under the STOCK act which Price did.
However, lawmakers are not allowed to make investment decisions based on insider information they may obtain in political office.
Republicans came out fighting to the actions with transition spokesman Philip Blando who pointed to three Democrats that also traded stocks in pharmaceutical and health insurance companies.
Ethics are playing a significant role in early exchanges between Republicans and Congress. The Republicans recently scrapped plans to “gut” the Office of Congressional Ethics.