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HHS nominee Tom Price faces insider trading accusations

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Trump's HHS pick faces conflict of interest issues 05:19

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services bought shares in a medical device company last year and then introduced legislation in the House to help the company less than a week later, CBS News has confirmed.

The new revelations about Rep. Tom Price, first reported by CNN on Monday evening, raises new ethics concerns and questions about whether Price engaged in insider trading. This comes just days before he’s slated to testify at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

According to House records, Price, R-Georgia, bought between $1,000 to $15,000 worth of shares in the company Zimmer Biomet last March.

Days later, he introduced a bill that would have delayed a regulation until 2018 that industry analysts said would financially hurt Zimmer Biomet. Records show that after the introduction of the measure, the company’s political action committee donated to Price’s reelection campaign.

In a statement Tuesday, Zimmer Biomet’s vice president for corporate communications, Monica Kendrick, said that the firm didn’t know about Price’s purchase of stock in the company and said it wasn’t involved in the introduction of his bill to delay the regulation.

“Zimmer Biomet had no knowledge of Congressman Price’s purchase of Zimmer Biomet stock. As is common practice, the Zimmer Biomet PAC regularly makes donations to various political campaigns, all of which are disclosed as required by law,” she said. “These actions are not connected. Zimmer Biomet has supported the Comprehensive Joint Replacement (CJR) program developed and implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Zimmer Biomet was not involved in the Healthy Inpatient Procedures (HIP) Act, which was introduced by Congressman Price to delay CJR implementation.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said in a statement Monday that the Office of Congressional Ethics must “conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into these potential violations of the STOCK Act before Rep. Price’s nomination moves forward.” The STOCK Act was designed to combat insider trading among members of Congress.

“This new report makes clear that this isn’t just a couple of questionable trades, but rather a clear and troubling pattern of Congressman Price trading stock and using his office to benefit the companies in which he is investing,” Schumer said. “The President-elect claims he wants to drain the swamp, but Congressman Price has spent his career filling it up.”

This comes after The Wall Street Journal reported in December that Price traded more than $300,000 in healthcare stocks over the last four years while advocating or sponsoring bills that could have affected the stocks of those companies.

CBS News’ Steve Chaggaris and Emi Feldman contributed to this report.

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