Majority Leader Bill Frist is facing two federal inquiries into his abrupt sale of millions of dollars of stock in HCA Inc., his family’s hospital corporation, shortly before a company announcement sent the price plummeting.
Frist claimed this morning on Fox News Sunday that, for the last decade, he has had “no earthly idea” how much HCA stock he owned:
For the last 10 or 11 years, I have no idea no earthly idea at any point in time how much stock of anything, not just that particular stock [HCA], but all of the stocks that I’ve owned in the past. And that’s good, because I’m able to put it aside and not worry about it.
That’s not true. During the last five years, he was aware of both the general value of his holdings in HCA and substantial purchases of additional HCA shares:
DECEMBER 2000- FRIST INFORMS SENATE HIS HOLDINGS IN HCA ARE VALUED BETWEEN $5 MILLION AND $25 MILLION: “The value of HCA stock in Frist’s trusts at the end of 2000 was between $5 million and $25 million, according to a disclosure he filed with the Senate ethics committee when he established the accounts.” [Bloomberg, 9/23/05]
MAY 16, 2002 – TRUSTEE TELLS FRIST HE PURCHASED $750K TO $1.5 MILLION IN HCA STOCK: “On May 16, 2002, Scobey advised Frist that four investments were contributed to a Frist blind trust, including HCA stock valued at $500,000 to $1 million. A second letter the same day mentions the same four investments going into a different trust, but with different valuations, including HCA stock valued at $250,000 to $500,000.” [BusinessWeek, 9/24/05]
EARLY JANUARY 2003 – TRUSTEE TELLS FRIST 15K-50K OF HCA STOCK HAS BEEN CONTRIBUTED TO TRUST: “Just two weeks before those [January 2003] comments, the trustee of the senator’s trust, M. Kirk Scobey Jr., wrote to Frist that HCA stock was contributed to the trust. It was valued at $15,000 and $50,000.” [BusinessWeek, 9/24/05]
If Frist didn’t do anything wrong, why can’t he be honest about what he knew?
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the video.