CDC director resigns after trading tobacco stock in apparent conflict of interest

01 February, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Politico: CDC Director Purchased Tobacco, Healthcare Stocks During Tenure

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resigned from her position on Wednesday, a day after a report stated she purchased tobacco stock.

The head of the leading USA public health agency has resigned because of financial conflicts of interest that documents showed included purchases of tobacco and healthcare stocks while in office.

According to Politico, Fitzgerald was already under scrutiny for failing to timely divest the other holdings she bought before joining the CDC that likewise could have posed conflicts of interest. "The Secretary thanks Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald for her service and wishes her the best in all her endeavors". "These additional purchases did not change the scope of Dr. Fitzgerald's recusal obligations, and Dr. Fitzgerald has since also divested of these newly acquired potentially conflicting publicly traded stock holdings".

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In its story Tuesday night, Politico reported that Fitzgerald, the former commissioner of Georgia's Public Health Department, bought between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of shares in the large company Japan Tobacco after taking the CDC post in early July. "During the divestiture process, her financial account manager purchased some potentially conflicting stock holdings". Murray said Fitzgerald's conflicts had forced her to send deputies to testify at congressional hearings on the opioid crisis. That followed widespread news reports of Price's own extensive stock trading and investments in health-related companies.

Fitzgerald, trained as an obstetrician-gynecologist, had been head of the Georgia Department of Public Health since 2011 before joining the Atlanta-based CDC last summer.

Under stipulations in The STOCK Act, any amount under $1,001 does not need to be reported.

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'You don't buy tobacco stocks when you are the head of the CDC. He now serves as president of Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health and consumer safety think tank. Lurie said. "Seen in that broader context, Fitzgerald's appointment and her brief, ineffective tenure is just a symptom of a gravely serious ethical disease afflicting this administration".

Last September, Trump's first HHS secretary, former U.S. Representative Tom Price, resigned over his use of expensive taxpayer-funded private charter jets for government travel.

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