Speed Reads

senate confirmations

Democratic senator takes Tom Price to task over questionable stock purchases

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) faced intense questioning from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Wednesday over his decision to purchase Innate Immunotherapeutics stock after a conversation with Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.). "Rep. Price, recent press reports about your investments in the Australian biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, raise some curious questions about your judgments, and I want to review the facts," Murray began. "You made the decision to purchase that stock, not a broker, yes or no?"

"That was a decision I made, yes," Price answered.

Murray continued to push in her questioning: "Congressman Chris Collins, who sits on President-elect Trump's transition team, is both an investor and a board member of [Innate Immunotherapeutics]. He was reportedly overheard just last week off the House floor bragging about how he had made people millionaires from a stock tip," she said. "Congressman Price, in our meeting, you informed me you made purchases based on conversations with Rep. Collins, is that correct?"

Price has denied the accusation, claiming he had spoken to Collins simply about the company in general — but it's certainly not a great moment for the congressman. "[Innate Immunotherapeutics'] drug could benefit from the 21st Century Cures Act, which Mr. Price voted for. The law, signed in December, will speed up the Food and Drug Administration's approval of new medicines," The New York Times reports. "At the very least, Mr. Price exercised abysmal judgment by trading the shares of companies over whose fortunes he exercised so much control."