Another hit to Bill Frist's ethics problems was disclosed yesterday. His blind trust that he created in order to avoid conflicts of interest while serving in the Senate was not so blind. While Frist had his blind trust, he was also buying stock outside of the trust. While this is not illegal, it is against Senate ethics rules because it creates a conflict of interest when voting on bills that could affect those stocks. This won't help GOP ethics woes.
Frist Accumulated Stock Outside Trusts
By LARRY MARGASAK and JONATHAN M. KATZ, Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON - Over a period of four years, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist accumulated stock in a family founded hospital chain that produced tens of thousands of dollars in income — all outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, documents show.
The stock was held in a family partnership largely controlled by Frist's brother, Thomas, who founded HCA Inc. along with the senator's late father.
Frist, R-Tenn., has long maintained that he could vote on health care legislation and still own HCA stock because he placed his shares in Senate-approved blind trusts.
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.
While there have been no allegations of impropriety in Frist's having shares outside the voluntary blind trusts, federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Frist's sale of HCA stock from his blind trusts.