This Thursday, January 18th, the Senate will begin confirmation hearings for Georgia Congressman Tom Price who is nominated to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Congressman Price has been very interested and involved in the subject of health and human services, to the end that he has been using legislation related to medical regulations to carry out a whole bunch of shady stock purchases. To quote the important bit, “The Wall Street Journal reported last month that he traded roughly $300,000 in shares over the past four years in health companies while pursuing legislation that could impact them.” The most recent example of this is the case of Zimmer Biomet, which Price bought shares in before pushing legislation that would help them avoid regulation that could hurt their business. That company later donated to his campaign. This is typically known as “insider trading” and people have gone to jail for less. Specifically, Martha Stewart has gone to jail for less.
Back in 2001, Martha Stewart allegedly got a tip from her broker that ImClone stock would drop due to the FDA not approving their new drug. Stewart sold her shares, which totaled $230,000, a day before the announcement. Stewart’s defense was that she had a standing order with her broker to sell the stock if shares dropped below $60. Stewart avoided losses of $45,673 by selling the day before the announcement. In the criminal case, Martha Stewart was convicted of insider trading, fined $30,000, and sentenced to five months in prison. The result of the civil suit related to the same matter was that she was barred from service as a director, CEO, or CFO of any public company, and she paid three times the losses she avoided which totaled $195,000.
So Stewart got an inside tip and sold her stock. That’s against the law, and she was punished to the full extent of it. Price has been intimately involved in hearings and legislation directly affecting medical companies whose stock he’s been buying and selling AT THE SAME TIME. This is apparently not against the law? Or at least not as much against the law. Anyway, since there’s been no significant challenges to Price’s nomination, I’m sure that the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services will allow Price many more lucrative opportunities to serve the American people as well as his bank account. And Martha Stewart? She gets to be best friends with Snoop Dogg so it looks like it all worked out for her in the end.
Here’s a nice kicker to this news: Tom Price, despite being nominated to a position in which he will be in charge of the nation’s health insurance, has been kept out of meetings with Donald Trump over Trump’s Obamacare replacement for fear that he’ll have to answer for the new plan during confirmation.
As a reminder; this is not normal.