Sen. Orrin Hatch reported purchasing at least $15,000 worth of stock in Phillip Morris in 2012 while a member of the Senate committee tasked with public health policy.
STAT reported that Hatch reported a stock account on which he is a joint owner bought between $15,001 and $50,000 of stock in tobacco company Phillip Morris in October of 2012. Hatch established a blind trust in April of 2013, and the Philip Morris holdings went into that account. During that time, Hatch was a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions or HELP.
While executive branch employees are forbidden to work on issues in which they have a financial interest, such rules do not apply to members of Congress. Lawmakers are allowed to write and vote on bills that would impact themselves financially, although they have to disclose their financial positions — along with the holdings of their spouse and dependent children — and report when assets are bought or sold.
Hatch reported that on Oct. 23, 2012, when he was a member of the committee, an account on which he is a joint owner acquired between $15,001 and $50,000 of Philip Morris stock. He reported that in 2013, he owned less than $1,001 of the stock and collected dividends between $201 and $1,000.
When asked for comment, Hatch’s office directed us to the disclosure statement detailing the establishment of the blind trust in 2013. Additionally, Hatch’s office says the delay between the 2012 purchase and establishment of the blind trust in 2013 was due to the time needed to research and establish a trust that could deal with the Senator’s personal finances and disclosure requirements. His finances remain in the trust.