President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, is under fire after news broke that he bought stock in a medical company days before writing a bill that would help it.
CNN reported Price bought between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of shares in Zimmer Biomet, which makes medical devices like knee and hip implants, in March. Days later, he introduced the HIP Act, which would have delayed until 2018 a regulation that experts said would have hurt Zimmer Biomet's business once it took effect.
It clearly has the appearance of using your influence as a congressman to your financial benefit.
After Price introduced the bill, the company's political action committee donated to his re-election campaign. A Washington watchdog group told CNN the deal looks shady.
The Wall Street Journal reported in December that Price had traded more than $300,000 in stock in medical companies while backing dozens of bills that could have affected those stocks, whether positively or negatively.
Any effort to connect the introduction of Dr. Price's legislation, co-sponsored with Democrats, to a campaign contribution is demonstrably false.
Price is set to appear before the Senate Health Committee and Finance Committee this week. Trump said he would submit a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as soon as Price is confirmed.
Price spokesman Phil Blando denied the CNN report.
A Price aide said the congressman didn't know about the stock purchase until April 4, weeks after his financial advisor made the transaction.
Price announced last week he would divest from 43 companies, including Zimmer Biomet, within 90 days of Senate confirmation.
Congress cracked down on insider training among its members with the STOCK Act in 2012.