Friday, September 23, 2005

HCA subpoenaed over Sen. Frist's shares

Here it comes. Reuters is reporting that a "federal investigation" is ongoing into Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's sale of HCA Inc. One would assume that the reference is to the SEC, but the article says that "[t]he sale has also drawn the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has sought information from Frist." Key word being "also."

Frist is maintaining that he sold the stock in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and to avoid criticism of a potential conflict of interest. What he has not explained is why he sold the stock in July of this year, rather than years ago when he took office. If appearances or conflicts were the reason, we would have expected to see the sale when he took office, or when he was criticized for the conflict, not now.

According to the article a Frist spokesman said that Frist "will provide the SEC any information that it needs with respect to this matter." That sounds promising, although he is a politician. That sentence could actually mean that he will provide information that HE thinks the SEC needs.

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