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September 26, 2005

A paragon of virtue

Frist ('frist), verb: to dissemble, usually for profit:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday he had no insider information when he sold stock this summer in HCA Inc., the hospital company founded by his father and brother.
… “I had no information about HCA or its performance that was not publicly available when I directed the trustees to sell the stock,” Frist said, referring to the sale by administrators of his blind trusts.
… “Despite not being required to do so, I sought and obtained two Ethics Committee opinions acknowledging that my ownership of HCA stock complied with Senate rules and did not present a conflict of interest with my Senate duties,” Frist said.
“Despite not being required to do so, I later chose to place many of my investments in blind trusts, including my HCA stock. With these efforts, I have sought to guarantee that no conflict of interest existed. Review after review has found nothing wrong.”

So as CREW asks, why did Frist suddenly decide that there now was a (perfectly timed) conflict of interest?

Washington, DC – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Senate Majority Leader William Frist (R-TN). The complaint alleges that the Senator violated Senate ethics rules by engaging in apparent insider trading and then attempting to cover it up.
… Melanie Sloan, CREW’s Executive Director, stated: “Why did Sen. Frist suddenly decide to sell the stock in June after holding the stock for so long? Also, did the Senator order the sale based on insider knowledge that the value of the stock was about to decline precipitously?”
… Sloan stated, “not only has Sen. Frist likely engaged in illegal activity, he has also been attempting to cover up his actions by suddenly finding a conflict of interest that he never before recognized. Sen. Frist would be wise to consider Martha Stewart’s case as he continues down this path.”

Although looking on the bright side, he might be able to parlay the experience into a reality TV show.

Posted by Stephen at 10:13 PM in Politics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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