WASHINGTON (PNN) - February 1, 2018 - A scathing report has just revealed that the now-former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Brenda Fitzgerald, was purchasing shares in drug companies as well as big tobacco - while heading up the organization ostensibly devoted to health. The hypocritical nature of her position at the CDC while simultaneously investing in companies contrary to her mission exposes the true control industries have over allegedly ‘objective’ government agencies.
For those that don’t know, the CDC is supposed to be the nation’s leader in smoking cessation efforts as smoking-related deaths kill more people in the Fascist Police States of Amerika every year than anything else. So when the head of the nation’s largest anti-smoking department not only holds a massive amount of stock in Big Tobacco, but actually buys more of it while she is in office, it is time to pay attention.
What’s more, the CDC is currently fighting a massive opioid epidemic in Amerika right now - one that is killing more Amerikans every year than died in the Vietnam War. So when the head of an agency tasked with preventing more deaths from prescription opioids is buying stock in the very companies behind the crisis - it is also time to pay attention.
“You don’t buy tobacco stocks when you are the head of the CDC. It’s ridiculous; it gives a terrible appearance,” said Richard Painter, who served as George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007. He described the move as “tone deaf,” given the CDC’s role in leading anti-smoking efforts.
“It stinks to high heaven,” Painter added.
Fitzgerald, a Trump appointee, already owned stock in five other tobacco companies when she assumed leadership of the CDC. Documents revealed Fitzgerald had holdings in Reynolds American, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Philip Morris International, and Altria Group.
After assuming her position, she then moved to purchase even more Big Tobacco shares in Japan Tobacco, one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, which sells multiple brands in the FPSA.
Buying shares of tobacco companies raises even more flags than Fitzgerald’s trading in drug and food companies because it stands in such stark contrast to the CDC’s mission to persuade smokers to quit and keep children from becoming addicted. Critics say her trading behavior broke with ethical norms for public health officials and was, at best, sloppy. At worst, it was legally problematic if she didn’t recuse herself from government activities that could have affected her investments.
On top of investing in companies that can be defined as the enemy of her job, Fitzgerald, after her appointment, began investing in major drug companies as well. As we know, the CDC is responsible for creating and enforcing the vaccine schedule for all Amerikans. So, when the head of the CDC begins to grow a financial relationship with the very companies who make billions off these vaccines, a major ethical line is crossed.
Fitzgerald also bought thousands of dollars of shares in several health care companies, including Merck & Co, Bayer, and Humana, which the FPSA Department of Health and Human Services deemed a conflict of interest.
“Like all presidential personnel, Dr. Fitzgerald’s financial holdings were reviewed by the HHS Ethics Office, and she was instructed to divest of certain holdings that may pose a conflict of interest. During the divestiture process, her financial account manager purchased some potentially conflicting stock holdings. 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,” said an unnamed HHS spokesman.
When industry insiders move back and forth between companies that profit from government laws and the government, there is no such thing as objectivity or freedom. Amerikans are told that the appointees’ ties to special interests give them “professional experience” that makes them qualified for the job. However, what it really does is foster corporatism and corruption at the expense of Amerikan citizens.
While Fitzgerald resigned yesterday over the massive scandal, as long as Amerikans continue to look the other way while they are fleeced by those in power, it is only a matter of time before another industry insider rises up the corporatocracy ladder and fills the void.