Shortly after insider-trading allegations surfaced Sunday against President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of health and human services, Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price, a former aide to the congressman took to Twitter in an effort to debunk the story "from start to finish." One-time Price staffer Ellen Carmichael laid our her case in a long series of tweets.
CNN reported that Price, an orthopedic surgeon, purchased stock in the medical device company Zimmer Biomet and then, one week later, introduced a bill to benefit that company by delaying until 2018 the joint replacement device tax, which was passed as part of Obamacare.
Price's March 2016 bill, referred to as the HIP Act, aimed to delay the same tax that Price in September 2015 asked Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt to postpone. When Price's first attempt to defer the joint replacement tax proved unsuccessful, however, he introduced legislation to help accomplish his goal.
The Trump transition team and other Republicans, including Carmichael, argued that this timeline indicates Price's intention was not to line his pockets, since he first tried to postpone the joint replacement tax months before he purchased stock in Zimmer Biomet.
Further, according Price's supporters, the Georgia congressman was not personally involved in the acquisition as his financial adviser was charged with overseeing his stock portfolio. Price didn't know he owned Zimmer Biomet shares until April 2016, when federal law required that he disclose his financial holdings, Carmichael wrote.
But CNN's reporting buried the part about Price's 2015 letter, a move Carmichael called "journalistic malpractice."
Carmichael said she was "physically sickened" by the "dishonest" CNN report, accusing the outlet of carrying water for Democrats.
She went on to call the allegations against her former boss "absolutely disgusting."
"This isn't politics. It's character assassination," Carmichael said.
In a separate tweet, she added: "They can't beat him on ideas, character or experience, so they fabricate an entire corruption narrative the facts don't support."
Carmichael vouches for Price's character and experience, saying Democrats are "lucky he's not the kind of person to them that they are to him."
"This is shameful," Carmichael concluded.
According to Politico, the Trump transition team has asked CNN to retract the story.