Rep. Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for health and human services secretary, spent 12 years in Congress writing legislation on health care issues. And for at least the past four years, he bought and sold more than $300,000 in health care stocks — stocks whose value was affected by the legislation he was working on.
Price's stock trades have become the issue that could derail his confirmation hearings. Democrats hammered him on them at his first Senate hearing on Wednesday, trying to get Price to admit he'd traded stock based on insider knowledge in Congress, which would be illegal. He's likely to face more pressure when he goes before the Senate Finance Committee for a confirmation hearing today.
Price's trades might not be illegal, but they look bad; ethics experts advise that members of Congress refrain from trading individual stocks and stick to mutual funds while they're in office.
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They're also part of a bigger pattern for the incoming president-elect and his nominees: From Trump's own conflicts to his nominees' struggles to finish their ethics paperwork on time, the new administration is repeatedly sending the signal that it doesn't seem to care much about the norms and traditions of ethics.