Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Incessant Drumbeat of Republican Corruption

Here' the AP report (via ABC news; a number of the major blogs are linking to the Miami Herald, which requires a subscription) on some new discoveries of the Reverend Dr. Senator Bill Frist's "ethical" handling of stocks and investments:

Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, documents show.

The Tennessee Republican, whose sale this summer of HCA Inc. stock is under federal investigation, has long maintained he could own HCA shares and still vote on health care legislation without a conflict because he had placed the stock in blind trusts approved by the Senate.

However, ethics experts say a partnership arrangement shown in documents obtained by The Associated Press raises serious doubts about whether the senator truly avoided a conflict.
The value of all the transferred shares, calculated on the dates they went into the Senate trusts, was between $775,000 and $1.57 million, according to letters the trustees sent to Frist and the Senate. That stock was on top of millions of dollars in various investments Frist already owned in the Senate blind trusts.

With his background as a heart surgeon as well as majority leader, Frist has been at the forefront of legislation that would affect the hospital chain. Among the issues: a Medicare prescription drug benefit and limits on medical malpractice lawsuits.


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