CDC director resigns over her “financial interests” in tobacco companies

Feb. 1, 2018

The director of the Centers for Disease Control has resigned, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, in the wake of her “financial interests” coming under scrutiny.

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald had invested in stock at tobacco companies only a month after assuming her role at a federal agency that claims to be “at the forefront of the nation’s efforts to reduce deaths and prevent chronic diseases that result from tobacco use.”

Fitzgerald’s ethically compromising financial investments were reported by Politico on Jan. 30.

“Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC Director,” said HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd in a statement. “Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period.”

Fitzgerald, an obstetrician from Georgia, became director of the CDC in July, but her finances have been under a microscope since she assumed her role.

The Politico report revealed Fitzgerald held stock in Japan Tobacco, Reynolds American, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Philip Morris International, and Altria Group Inc. She also had made sizable purchases of stock in pharmaceutical and health insurance companies.

Fitzgerald is not the first person at HHS to come under fire. Last year, then-Secretary of HHS Dr. Tom Price resigned after it was revealed he traveled to government events on private jets with taxpayer funds.

ABC News has the full article

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