Rep. Tom Price gets into an elevator at Trump Tower, November 16, 2016 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Rep. Tom Price gets into an elevator at Trump Tower, November 16, 2016 in New York City.
Now playing
01:04
Tom Price in 60 seconds
Now playing
01:26
Sarah Sanders: I was kicked out of restaurant
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks on migrant children being separated from parents at the southern border during a White House daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House June 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Nielsen joined White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at the daily news briefing to answer questions from members of the White House Press Corps.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks on migrant children being separated from parents at the southern border during a White House daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House June 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Nielsen joined White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at the daily news briefing to answer questions from members of the White House Press Corps.
Now playing
01:18
Protesters confront Secy. Nielsen at restaurant
Richard Grenell, nominee to be US ambassador to Germany, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Richard Grenell, nominee to be US ambassador to Germany, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:42
US envoy remarks to Brietbart provoke backlash
KANAB, UT - MAY 10: U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke talks to reporters before departing Kanab Airport on May 10, 2017 in Kanab, Utah. Zinke has been in the state of Utah since Sunday talking with state and local officials and touring the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, to help determine their future status under the Trump Administration. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images
KANAB, UT - MAY 10: U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke talks to reporters before departing Kanab Airport on May 10, 2017 in Kanab, Utah. Zinke has been in the state of Utah since Sunday talking with state and local officials and touring the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, to help determine their future status under the Trump Administration. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:41
Zinke claims to be geologist, again
CNN
Now playing
02:39
All the Trump officials who threatened to quit
CIA nominee Gina Haspel is sworn in during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP
CIA nominee Gina Haspel is sworn in during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)
Now playing
02:33
Haspel balks on morality of torture program
Getty Images
Now playing
02:26
Trump's Cabinet faces travel scrutiny
david jolly
CNN
david jolly
Now playing
00:46
Ex-lawmaker rips Trump's 'first-rate grifters'
US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson speaks to employees on his first day at the Department of Housing and Urban Development March 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson speaks to employees on his first day at the Department of Housing and Urban Development March 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:58
Complaint filed over Carson's office expenses
david jolly
CNN
david jolly
Now playing
00:58
Jolly: No accountability in this administration
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke delivers a speech billed as "A Vision for American Energy Dominance" at the Heritage Foundation on September 29, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke delivers a speech billed as "A Vision for American Energy Dominance" at the Heritage Foundation on September 29, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
03:11
Interior secretary's trips may have violated law
Now playing
00:46
Trump: I'm not undercutting Tillerson
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Now playing
03:10
Bannon out as White House chief strategist
petersen nominee 02
Senate TV
petersen nominee 02
Now playing
02:25
Trump nominee can't answer basic law questions
Assistant to the US President Donald Trump Anthony Scaramucci takes part in a meeting on the theme "Monetary Policy: Where Will Things Land?" on the opening day of the World Economic Forum, on January 17, 2017 in Davos.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Assistant to the US President Donald Trump Anthony Scaramucci takes part in a meeting on the theme "Monetary Policy: Where Will Things Land?" on the opening day of the World Economic Forum, on January 17, 2017 in Davos.
Now playing
02:34
Scaramucci: Priebus a 'paranoid schizophrenic'

Story highlights

Democrats want ethics probe into HHS secretary nominee Tom Price

A report alleged Price traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies during his time in Congress

(CNN) —  

Senate Democrats are calling on the House Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an investigation into Rep. Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, to probe the congressman’s financial investments and stock holdings.

“We are here to call on the House Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate if any laws were broken,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a news conference. “There’s enough evidence here that cries out for an investigation. Whether the law was actually broken, whether there was quid pro quos or inside information is the better way to put it – we don’t know.”

Schumer was joined by fellow Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Ron Wyden, each a top Democrat on two separate Senate committees set to hold confirmation hearings on Price.

The announcement comes following a Wall Street Journal report that alleged Price traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies during his time in Congress, all “while sponsoring and advocating legislation that potentially could affect those companies’ stocks.”

The senators are insisting that the House ethics panel investigate Price before his confirmation hearings begin.

“The questions are serious enough that it raises this to a level that we believe an investigation must occur so that members – Republicans and Democrats – are confident that if this nomination moves forward, they’re voting for someone that they clearly have the information on that we do not have today,” Murray said. “We have a responsibility.”

Asked directly by CNN Wednesday if it was a mistake to trade in stocks in an industry he has oversight of, Price demurred, saying “I am looking forward to a very positive and productive confirmation hearing.” Asked if he will answer that to the committee, Price said, “We will be happy to comply with whatever the senators want us to do.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, a member of the GOP leadership the chairman of the panel that approves funding for HHS, told CNN said he didn’t know the details of the allegations of Price but defended his former congressional colleague as a person of high integrity.

“I have a lot confidence in Tom Price’s integrity. So I doubt it’s very serious and he’ll be able to explain” the trades, Blunt said.

“There is (the) STOCK Act,” Blunt added. “I’m confident he is in compliance with that, knowing his as I do as a colleague in the House. Those are the kinds of questions people have to expect to answer if they are nominated to these jobs.”

The timing of Thursday’s public call for the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Price comes after House Republicans attempted to gut the ethics panel just three days earlier. After voting to significantly weaken the office, Republicans – facing fierce public outcry and condemnation – reversed course.

Schumer suggested Thursday that Republicans may have been trying to “protect” Price.

“As you know, Republicans backed off their crusade against ethics for now, but it begged the question: who are they trying to protect?” Schumer asked.

The Trump transition said Democrats’ call for an ethics probe into Price is “hypocrisy.”

“Hypocrisy is apparently alive and well this morning in Washington,” transition spokesman Phil Blando said in a statement. “The same questions being raised today by Senator Schumer about Dr. Price should be directed to Senators Carper, Warner, and Whitehouse, who own and have traded hundreds of thousands of dollars in pharmaceutical and health insurance company stocks. The reality is that Dr. Price’s 20-year career as an orthopedic surgeon and a fiscal conservative make him uniquely qualified to lead HHS.”

CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to this report.