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News Tuesday, Apr 4 2017

On 5th Anniversary, Tom Price Is A Reminder of What the STOCK Act Seeks to Prevent

Apr 04, 2017

American Bridge Vice President Shripal Shah released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of President Obama signing the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act after it cleared Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support:

“Five years ago today, the STOCK was signed into law to stop the abuses of power Tom Price used to enrich himself at the expense of the American people.  But rather than investigate Congressman Price’s potentially illegal activity, Donald Trump promoted him to lead a Republican healthcare debacle that would kick 26 million Americans off of their insurance to give a few millionaires billions in tax cuts.  Donald Trump isn’t draining the swamp – he’s flooding it with corrupt cronies, lobbyists, and the super rich who are gaming the system at the expense of the American people.”

Price Voted Against Rules Prohibiting Stock Trading On Information Gained As A Member Of Congress

2011: Price, Tom Effectively Voted Against Directing The Securities And Exchange Commission To Issue Rules To Prohibit Stock Trading Based On Inside Information Gained As A Member Or Employee Of Congress. In December 2011, Price, Tom effectively voted against an amendment that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “would have directed the “Securities and Exchange Commission within 270 days of the bill’s enactment to issue rules to prohibit the trading of commodities, securities or any related swaps or futures based on ‘material nonpublic information’ gained as a member or employee of Congress.” The vote was on a motion to recommit the House’s version of the Middle Class Tax Relief And Job Creation Act of 2011 to the House Ways and Means Committee with instructions that it be reported back immediately with the specified amendment. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 would extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment compensation, Medicare physician payment, and provide for the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline. The House rejected the motion by a vote of 183 to 244. [House Vote 922, 12/13/11; Congressional Quarterly, 12/13/11; Congressional Actions, H.R. 3630]

Price Traded More Than $300,000 In Shares Of Health Related Companies While Sponsoring Legislation That Could Affect Companies’ Stocks And Receiving Millions From The Health Sector

2013 – 2016: Price Traded More Than $300,000 In Shares Of Health-Related Companies While Sponsoring And Advocating Legislation That Potentially Could Affect Those Companies’ Stocks. According to the Wall Street Journal, “President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to run the Health and Human Services Department traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies over the past four years while sponsoring and advocating legislation that potentially could affect those companies’ stocks. Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, bought and sold stock in about 40 health-care, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies since 2012, including a dozen in the current congressional session, according to a Wall Street Journal review of hundreds of pages of stock trades he filed with Congress. In the same two-year period, he has sponsored nine and co-sponsored 35 health-related bills in the House. His stock trades included Amgen Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb Co., Eli Lilly & Co., Pfizer Inc. and Aetna Inc.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/22/16]

Price Received A Sweetheart Stock Deal From A Foreign Drug Company Seeking Favorable Treatment

2016: Innate Immunotherapeutics Offered Sweetheart Deal For $1 Million In Discounted Shares To Price Wh Sat On The House Committee With Power To Advance The Company’s Interests. According to Kaiser Health News, “When tiny Australian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics needed to raise money last summer, it didn’t issue stock on the open market. Instead, it offered a sweetheart deal to ‘sophisticated U.S. investors,’ company documents show. It sold nearly $1 million in discounted shares to two American congressmen sitting on House committees with the potential power to advance the company’s interests, according to company records and congressional filings.” [Kaiser Health News, 1/13/17]

Price Paid 18 Cents A Share For A Stake In A Company That Was Rapidly Escalating In Value, Rising To More Than 90 Cents As The Company Promoted An Aggressive Plan To Sell To A Major Pharmaceutical Company. According to Kaiser Health News, “They paid 18 cents a share for a stake in a company that was rapidly escalating in value, rising to more than 90 cents as the company promoted an aggressive plan to sell to a major pharmaceutical company. Analysts said the stock price could go to $2.” [Kaiser Health News, 1/13/17]

Contrary To His Congressional Testimony, Price Got A Privileged Offer To Buy A Biomedical Stock At A Discount. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Rep. Tom Price got a privileged offer to buy a biomedical stock at a discount, the company’s officials said, contrary to his congressional testimony this month. The Georgia Republican tapped by President Donald Trump to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services testified in his Senate confirmation hearings on Jan. 18 and 24 that the discounted shares he bought in Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd., an Australian medical biotechnology company, ‘were available to every single individual that was an investor at the time.’” [Wall Street Journal, 1/30/17]

Price Was One Of Fewer Than 20 U.S. Investors Who Were Invited To Buy Discounted Shares Of The Company. According to Wall Street Journal, “In fact, the cabinet nominee was one of fewer than 20 U.S. investors who were invited last year to buy discounted shares of the company—an opportunity that, for Mr. Price, arose from an invitation from a company director and fellow congressmen. The shares were discounted 12% off the traded price in mid-June only for investors who participated in a private placement arranged to raise money to complete a clinical trial. The company’s shares have tripled since the offering.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/30/17]

Price Invested In Zimmer Biomet, Introduced A Bill Days Later That Would Benefit The Company, Company Then Donated to His Re-Election Campaign

2016: Price Bought Between $1,001 To $15,000 Worth Of Shares In Zimmer Biomet Days Before Introducing Legislation That Would Have Directly Benefitted The Company. According to CNN, “Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising new ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary. Price bought between $1,001 to $15,000 worth of shares last March in Zimmer Biomet, according to House records reviewed by CNN.” [CNN, 1/17/17]

Less Than A Week After The Transaction, Price Introduced The HIP Act, Legislation That Would Have Delayed Until 2018 A CMS Regulation That Would Have Significantly Hurt Zimmer Biomet Once Fully Implemented. According to CNN, “Less than a week after the transaction, the Georgia Republican congressman introduced the HIP Act, legislation that would have delayed until 2018 a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation that industry analysts warned would significantly hurt Zimmer Biomet financially once fully implemented. Zimmer Biomet, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of knee and hip implants, was one of two companies that would have been hit the hardest by the new CMS regulation that directly impacts the payments for such procedures, according to press reports and congressional sources.” [CNN, 1/17/17]

After Price Offered His Bill To Provide Zimmer Biomet And Other Companies Relief From The CMS Regulation, The Company’s Political Action Committee Donated To Price’s Reelection Campaign. According to CNN, “After Price offered his bill to provide Zimmer Biomet and other companies relief from the CMS regulation, the company’s political action committee donated to the congressman’s reelection campaign, records show. If confirmed, Price will be a key player in Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump last week said a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will be submitted ‘as soon as’ Price is confirmed. He will appear before the Senate Health Committee this week, but must also appear before the Senate Finance Committee.” [CNN, 1/17/17]

Price Invested In Companies With Puerto Rico Facilities, Then Introduced Legislation To Benefit Them

Three Months After Investing In Four Companies With Manufacturing Plants In Puerto Rico, Price Introduced Legislation That Would Directly Benefit Those Companies. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Three months after investing in four companies with manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary introduced legislation that would directly benefit those companies. The proposed House legislation by Rep. Tom Price—which would have made permanent an expiring tax deduction for Puerto Rican facilities—didn’t pass, and the tax deduction expired Jan. 1. And Mr. Price, a Georgia Republican, testified last week that his broker made all of his stock investment decisions except those involving an Australian biomedical firm. The bill nevertheless marks another instance in which Mr. Price was involved in legislation that could have benefited his stock holdings. Earlier, The Wall Street Journal had reported that Mr. Price had invested in the Australian company after voting for legislation that eventually could help it. Senate investigators said late Monday they have found a variety of discrepancies in those disclosures.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/24/17]

Price Misstated The Timing Of Stock Purchases, Failed To Report Them, And Invested In More Health Care Companies That Could Benefit From Legislation He Introduced

Price Often Misstated The Timing Of Stock Purchases Or Failed To Report Them Altogether. According to USA Today, “President Trump’s choice to be the top U.S. health official bought and sold health care company stocks often enough as a member of Congress to warrant probes by both federal securities regulators and the House ethics committee, former government ethics lawyers say. A USA TODAY analysis of stock trade reports by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., also shows he often misstated the timing of stock purchases or failed to report them altogether. These include disclosures related to his much-publicized investment in the Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics, which gave him preferential treatment for a private stock offering he learned of through another member of Congress who is the company’s biggest shareholder.” [USA Today, 2/8/17]

On The Same Day Price Acquired Up To $90,000 Of Stock In Six Pharma Companies, Price Arranged A Call Seeking To Scuttle A Rule That Could Hurt The Firms’ Share Prices

On The Same Day The Stockbroker For Tom Price Bought Him Up To $90,000 Of Stock In Six Pharmaceutical Companies, Price Arranged To Call A Top U.S. Health Official, Seeking To Scuttle A Rule That Could Have Hurt The Firms’ Profits And Driven Down Their Share Prices. According to 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.” [ProPublica, 3/31/17]

Published: Apr 4, 2017

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