WASHINGTON – Health secretary Tom Price made a pretty penny as part of his ethics agreement with the government, a recent federal filing shows.
Paperwork filed with the Office of Government Ethics last month shows the former Roswell congressman made between $314,000 and $1.1 million while fulfilling his ethics deal with the independent agency, which is tasked with preventing conflicts of interest among Cabinet officials.
The filing indicates that Price made the money selling off his shares in roughly three-dozen companies, including health care related firms such as Aetna and Pfizer. All sales were made over a five day period beginning on February 10, the day the Senate confirmed Price as the 23rd secretary of Health and Human Services, according to the paperwork.
The Republican made a substantial chunk of that money, between $265,000 and $550,000, selling his stakes in Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech firm that became the subject of intense interest after Democrats raised concerns of insider trading. Price’s initial investment in the company was cumulatively between $60,000 and $110,000.
Price had pledged to divest of all the stocks as part of his ethics agreement with the feds, standard procedure for would-be Cabinet officials. As part of the deal, Price also agreed to transfer ownership of his surgical business to his wife and to “not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter” before the Health and Human Services Department “in which I know that I have a financial interest directly and predictably affected by the matter.”
Price’s swearing in as the Trump administration's top health official hasn’t stopped the stream of stories about his finances. The journalism nonprofit ProPublica, which first reported on the new filing, also broke the news that former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was investigating Price’s stock trades when he was fired by the Trump administration last month. The outlet also reported last week that Price sought to scuttle a federal rulemaking on prescription drugs last year on the same day his stockbroker bought up to $90,000 worth of stock in pharmaceutical companies.
Price has stayed quiet about his holdings since his confirmation hearings, but he previously maintained that all of his trades as a member of Congress were above board, even as he served on health policy-writing committees. His Republican allies have decried what they see as a Democratic “witch hunt” against Price in the media.