April 1, 2017

Tom Price Intervened on Rule That Would Hurt Drug Profits, the Same Day He Acquired Drug Stock

Robert Faturechi - ProPublica:

On the same day the stockbroker for then-Georgia Congressman Tom Price bought him up to $90,000 of stock in six pharmaceutical companies last year, Price arranged to call a top U.S. health official, seeking to scuttle a controversial rule that could have hurt the firms’ profits and driven down their share prices, records obtained by ProPublica show.

Stock trades made by Price while he served in Congress came under scrutiny at his confirmation hearings to become President Trump’s secretary of health and human services. The lawmaker, a physician, traded hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of shares in health-related companies while he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry, but Price has said his broker acted on his behalf without his involvement or knowledge.

Congressman Price is now Secretary of Health and Human Services Price. Move along, nothing to see here.

Tom Price’s broker could have traded these shares in without direction if Price’s account is an actively managed “wealth management” type. Those accounts are handled and charged fees for professional investment advice and management.

The trouble is, Price knew he already had pharma shares in his account, so his personal intervention in the rule making process was conflicted to begin with. The $90,000 in trades is only icing on his tasty wealth-laden cake.

I’m not opposed to wealth; we all invest for retirement, or should. I’m opposed to using the levers of government tilting the playing field in favor of legislators. Good thing then:

ProPublica previously reported that his trading is said to have been under investigation by federal prosecutors.

#GOP #fraud #pharmaceuticals #stock #investment

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