Following Additional Concerns on Congressman Price’s Financial Transactions, Baldwin and Senate Democrats Call For SEC Investigation Into Potential Violations of STOCK Act and Insider Trading Laws
In new letter, Senator HELP Democrats call on SEC for formal investigation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the stock market trading activities of Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Recent disclosures about Congressman Price’s financial dealings raise serious questions about potential STOCK Act violations, illegal insider trading, and other conflicts of interest.
Democrats and the government watchdog organization Public Citizen have previously called for an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OGE) into these potential violations.
“In light of Republican efforts to advance this nomination without completing such an investigation and given Rep. Price’s statements at his hearing last week that raise further concerns about his financial transactions – we believe it is necessary for the SEC to undertake a formal investigation into potential violations of both the STOCK Act and insider trading laws,” wrote the Senators in the letter. “It is clear through his financial disclosures that Rep. Price actively traded in multiple pharmaceutical and other health sector stocks while having access to a great deal of nonpublic information about pending health legislation and regulations.”
Today’s letter highlights Congressman Price’s involvement with Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech firm, and the investments he made in the company after a potential recommendation from Congressman Chris Collins (D-NY), an Innate Immunotherapeutics investor and board member, who also served on President Trump’s transition team. Congressman Price’s financial disclosures reveal that although he maintained a Morgan Stanley investment advisory account, which he actively used since at least 2009, he appears to have opened a separate brokerage account for Innate Immunotherapeutics stock purchases in 2015.
Last week, Congressman Price appeared before the HELP Committee in connection with his nomination to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In response to questioning at the hearing he confirmed:
- he personally made the decision to purchase Innate Immunotherapeutics stock.
- he actively makes decisions on the investment account that contains Innate Immunotherapeutics stock.
- he participated in a private offering not available to the general public.
The Senators concluded in the letter that: “Rep. Price’s investments raise a number of questions that merit investigation. We need to understand more about his conversations with Rep. Collins, his personal decision to purchase Innate Immunotherapies stock, and his accepting a discounted rate for this stock purchase.”