Stock Transactions Put Trump HHS Nominee Under Scrutiny

Democrats charge HHS nominee Tom Price with ethics breaches.

President-Elect Donald's Trump pick to head Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, MD, (R-Georgia) made financial transactions that may have violated federal law, three Democratic senators have charged.

Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are asking for a postponement of Price's confirmation hearing, Politico reported today.

The senators yesterday raised the charges in letter to Price asking for more information on trades of stock for Innate Immuno, a company in which he had invested while chair of the House Budget Committee.

The biomedical company is based in Australia.

Price also signed off on investments in six pharma companies about a month before he co-sponsored legislation that would protect these companies' earning by blocking changes in Medicare that could have hurt the companies.

In all, the three senators estimate, Price has traded more than $300,000 in shares of health companies while sponsoring and pushing for various pieces of legislation that could have an effect on those companies' stock prices.

In another trade that has raised questions, Price bought shares in Zimmer Biomet a medical device company that makes knee and hip implants and then sponsored a bill to give the company relief from the Medicare changes that lowered payments by bundling charges for such surgery into a single payment, CNN reported.

According to CNN, Price's spokesman has responded to questions about those trades only generally, saying "Dr. Price takes his obligation to uphold the public trust very seriously,"

Meanwhile, in a profile in The New York Times, Price was portrayed as caring orthopedic surgeon with a quiet, polite manner who saw himself as born to be a doctor. The article also made note of some of Price's stock dealings.

The American Medical Association has endorsed Price for HHS secretary based on Price's advocacy for certain issues involving physicians and organized medicine, such as fighting to rein in medical malpractice damages

But his Conservative stance on care issues including abortion rights, stem cell research and in-vitro fertilization has rankled many doctors.