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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Representing the 25th District of New York

Slaughter Calls for SEC Investigation of HHS Nominee After STOCK Act Uncovers Questionable Trades

January 10, 2017
Press Release
Trades came to light because of the law Slaughter wrote

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25) today called on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a complete investigation into the hundreds of stock trades made by Congressman Tom Price, the president-elect’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Slaughter wrote the STOCK Act, one of the most important ethics bills in a generation, to ban insider trading and increase transparency for federal officials. Because of filings required under this law, Congressman Price - chairman of House Budget Committee and member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health - has disclosed questionable transactions involving stocks of 40 different companies in the health care sector. 

“Given that the party in question is a fellow member of the House of Representatives, I do not make this request lightly nor do I presuppose that a violation has occurred,” Slaughter wrote in a letter to the SEC. “Nonetheless, the facts of this situation clearly raise the appearance of a potential violation of the public trust, which is precisely the reason that the STOCK Act was written and enacted. It is my hope that you will conduct a complete investigation to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”

Congresswoman Slaughter first introduced the STOCK Act in 2006 and was instrumental in getting the legislation passed and signed into law on April 4, 2012. The bill prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit, specifically targeting insider trading by members of Congress, their staff, and other government employees.

Filings required under the STOCK Act show that Congressman Price made hundreds of stock trades since those disclosures first became mandatory in 2012, including reported transactions involving stocks of 40 different companies in the health care sector. As chairman of House Budget Committee and member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, Congressman Price was privy to information not available to the public.

As Slaughter’s letter highlights, the fact that these trades were made and often timed to achieve significant earnings or avoid losses draws into question whether these transactions were triggered by insider knowledge.

A copy of Slaughter’s letter is included below and available online here:

 

January 9, 2017

 

Securities and Exchange Commission

100 F Street, NE

Washington, DC  20549

 

Dear Commissioners:

 

I first wrote the STOCK Act in 2006 in response to reports that individuals in congressional offices had abused the public trust, and for six years I made the case that federal officials should be explicitly covered by insider trading rules before the STOCK Act was finally signed into law. It is because of this law’s disclosure provisions that stock trades made by Congressman Tom Price have been brought to light, raising concerns about the propriety of those transactions. Consistent with the STOCK Act’s intent to maintain the American people’s confidence in their elected officials, I request that Securities Exchange Commission conduct a thorough investigation of Congressman Price’s stock trades.

 

According to filings required under the STOCK Act, Congressman Price made hundreds of stock trades since those disclosures first became mandatory in 2012. Of particular concern are the reported transactions involving stocks of 40 different companies in the health care sector. As chairman of House Budget Committee and member of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health, Congressman Price was privy to information not available to the public. The fact that these trades were made and in many cases timed to achieve significant earnings or avoid losses would lead a reasonable person to question whether the transactions were triggered by insider knowledge.

 

Given that the party in question is a fellow member of the House of Representatives, I do not make this request lightly nor do I presuppose that a violation has occurred. Nonetheless, the facts of this situation clearly raise the appearance of a potential violation of the public trust, which is precisely the reason that the STOCK Act was written and enacted. It is my hope that you will conduct a complete investigation to resolve this matter as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Louise M. Slaughter

Member of Congress

 

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