How Blind Was Frist's Trust?

by TChris

This is Sen. Bill Frist, explaining why he had no conflict of interest in voting for or against health care legislation despite his ownership of stock in the hospital chain, HCA Inc., that his family founded:

Asked in a television interview in January 2003 whether he should sell his HCA stock, [Frist] responded, "Well, I think really for our viewers it should be understood that I put this into a blind trust. So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock"

Frist, referring to his trust and those of his family, also said in the interview, "I have no control. It is illegal right now for me to know what the composition of those trusts are. So I have no idea."

Recently disclosed facts are inconsistent with Frist's insistence that he had no idea whether he owned HCA stock:

Frist, R-Tenn., received regular updates of transfers of assets to his blind trusts and sales of assets. He also was able to initiate a stock sale of a hospital chain founded by his family with perfect timing. Shortly after the sale this summer, the stock price dived.


Documents on file with the Senate show the trustees for Frist and his immediate family wrote the senator nearly two dozen times between 2001 and July 2005.

The documents list assets going into the account and assets sold. Some assets have a dollar range of the investment's value and some list the number of shares.

Frist's blind trust, it seems, wasn't so blind. And Frist hasn't explained why he suddenly decided to avoid a conflict of interest by selling the HCA stock when he's long claimed that the blind trust prevented any conflict from occurring.

Perhaps Frist's belated decision to behave ethically coincidentally compelled him to dump the stock just before public disclosure of disappointing earnings caused the stock's value to plummet. If so, karma is on Frist's side. But to their credit, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission have started to ask whether the fortuitous timing of Frist's stock sale was based on inside information about the earnings report.

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    Re: How Blind Was Frist's Trust? (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:19 PM EST
    I'd say it's about as blind as a "doctor" who was so successful he got into the Senate, who thinks AIDS is transmitted through sweat and thinks a braindead corpse can write poetry. No, wait, it's about as blind as the morons who will soon be writing paeans to Frist's brilliance.

    Re: How Blind Was Frist's Trust? (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimcee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    Apparently the blind trust is not very blind when it comes to personal wealth.

    Re: How Blind Was Frist's Trust? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    As the record clearly shows, Bill Frist lied twice: Terri Schiavo was blind. His blind trust was not. For more on Frist and the epidemic of GOP corruption, cronyism and patronage, see: "Banana Republicans."

    Re: How Blind Was Frist's Trust? (none / 0) (#4)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    Dear Bill - send me a postcard from Camp Cupcake.