SEC chairman recuses himself from investigating Senate leader


Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox is recusing himself from the SEC's investigation into stock sales made by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, people familiar with the matter told the WALL STREET JOURNAL Monday. From the wire:

Mr. Cox, a former California Congressman, donated $1,000 to Mr. Frist in 2000 from the Christopher Cox Congressional Committee, according to Federal Election Commission records. Mr. Cox and Mr. Frist also worked closely together on Capitol Hill. Mr. Cox wants to recuse himself to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, these people said.

The SEC and Justice Department are probing Mr. Frist's sale of shares in HCA Inc. this past summer. The sale came just prior to an earnings warning, which sent shares of HCA plummeting. Mr. Frist has denied having an knowledge about problems at the company that prompted his sale and has said he instructed his trustee to sell the shares to avoid a conflict of interest.