Frist still under investigation for stock sale

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist remains under investigation by federal authorities for his sale of stock in his family founded hospital chain this year.

He said Sunday that he has not testified in the matter.

“I am cooperating fully and am anxious to provide all information, which I’ve been doing throughout,” Frist, R-Tenn., told “Fox News Sunday.”

Federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission in September opened an investigation into Frist’s order to sell all his stock in HCA Inc., the hospital company founded by his father and brother.

The sales were completed by July 1, near the stock’s 52-week peak and two weeks before share prices fell 9 percent.

Frist, who is considering a run for the White House in 2008, said he ordered the sales to avoid the appearance of a conflict on interest.

Frist had placed much of his HCA stock in a Senate blind trust. He said he does not know the value of the stock sold.

“For the last 10 years 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, but all of the stocks that I’ve owned in the past,” Frist said.

Documents filed with the Senate show that Frist was often updated by trustees about changes to his trusts, including the addition and sale of HCA stock.

Frist also kept some of his immediate family’s HCA shares in trusts maintained outside of Washington. Those holdings were sold at the same time as those in his Senate trust.

Frist was cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee to hold the stock and continue participating in health care-related legislation. He said placing stock in the Senate trust was his choice.

His sale coincided with a $112 million sell-off of shares by HCA insiders _ including the chief executive and the treasurer _ that began in January 2005, with the largest insider sales taking place in April, May and June.

© 2005 The Associated Press