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October 24, 2005

20/20 trusts: Bill Frist lied

Remember how Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tnn.) swore up and down that his shares in the healthcare firm HCA were held in a blind trust?

More like 20/20 trusts, as the paper trail shows...

Letters Show Frist Notified Of Stocks in 'Blind' Trusts
Documents Contradict Comments on Holdings

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family's hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.

Managers of the trusts that Frist once described as "totally blind," regularly informed him when they added new shares of HCA Inc. or other assets to his holdings, according to the documents.

Since 2001, the trustees have written to Frist and the Senate 15 times detailing the sale of assets from or the contribution of assets to trusts of Frist and his family. The letters included notice of the addition of HCA shares worth $500,000 to $1 million in 2001 and HCA stock worth $750,000 to $1.5 million in 2002. The trust agreements require the trustees to inform Frist and the Senate whenever assets are added or sold.

The letters seem to undermine one of the major arguments the senator has used throughout his political career to rebut criticism of his ownership in HCA: that the stock was held in blind trusts beyond his control and that he had little idea of the extent of those holdings. [WaPo]

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Comments

How ironic that the last time the words "totally blind" were used in a news story, it was in regard to the Terri Schiavo autopsy.

And so we have a new title for the unauthorized Bill Frist biography.

I'm really beginning to wonder if the commission of a felony isn't a prerequisite for GOP leadership positions.

Sort o smacks of the Cosa Nostra and what you have to do to become a "made man."

Technically, it isn't illegal to sell stock when you have insider information if you can prove you had the plans to do so and the insider information had no impact on the sale. This is why Frist's people made a stink about him getting approval to sell in April. Unfortunately for them, the sale still remains questionable.

The SEC investigator must be a cat-lover.

He can diagnose patients he's never met. He can restore eyesight to blind trusts. The man is a genius.

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