Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke to CNN on Tuesday about allegations that Donald Trump‘s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, violated ethics rules with a stock market transaction. Price purchased stock in medical device maker Zimmer Biomet days before introducing legislation to the House that would delay regulations that would hurt the company’s business.
Schumer had already called for the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Price’s purchases, but on Tuesday, he said that besides being an ethics violation, Price’s financial activity could be illegal. The 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act makes it clear that members of Congress are not exempt from insider trading prohibitions under the Securities Exchange Act. “He puts [the legislation] in a week after he buys the stock? That cries out for an investigation,” Schumer said. “If he knew about it, it could very well be a violation of the law.”
Price has said that he didn’t know about it. He claims that the transaction was made by a broker, and that he wasn’t aware of where his money was going. But the timing of the stock purchase, so soon after Price introduced related legislation, makes Schumer believe that a broker independently making the purchase would be “kinda strange.”
Price stated that he will divest from Zimmer Biomet and 42 other companies should he become Secretary, but Schumer said, “I think there’s a very good chance he will not be confirmed.”
[Image via CNN screengrab]