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President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE’s transition team is dismissing questions about the investment activity of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as “junk reporting.”
A transition spokesperson fired back Tuesday after CNN reported that Price, who Trump has tapped to head the Department of Health and Human Services, purchased stock in a company that stood to benefit from legislation he was set to introduce just days later.
Price purchased between $1,000 and $15,000 in medical device company Zimmer Biomet in 2016, CNN reported Monday. Days later, Price introduced legislation that would delay a federal rule that could have limited Zimmer Biomet’s business.
After that, the company’s PAC contributed $2,000 to Price’s congressional campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
That trade, in addition to others in the healthcare industry, has led to calls from Democrats for an ethics investigation into whether Price, now in his seventh term, had violated insider trading laws by mixing his investments with his legislative activity.
Trump’s transition defended Price, arguing that in the Zimmer Biomet trade, Price had no idea he owned stock in the company before unveiling the legislation.
According to transition spokesperson Phil Blando, the company’s stock was purchased by Price’s broker as part of a broader readjustment to his portfolio. And Price himself only became aware of the trade after the bill had been introduced.
“Any effort to connect the introduction of bipartisan legislation by Dr. Price to any campaign contribution is demonstrably false,” said Blando in a statement.
“The only pattern we see emerging is that Senate Democrats and their liberal media allies cannot abide the notion that Dr. Tom Price is uniquely qualified to lead HHS and will stop at nothing to smear his reputation.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-N.Y.) has called for the Office of Congressional Ethics to probe Price’s trading activity and reiterated that call after CNN’s report Monday.
Price’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled for Wednesday.