CDC Director resigns over ties to tobacco industry stocks

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER, 5:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald is photographed at the agency’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Melissa Golden for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Wow, this one really takes the cake. I would say, “even for Trump,” but frankly, no, there doesn’t seem to be a bottom to the Trump sewer.

This kind of got buried by all the other never-ending scandals with the Trump Administration, but it’s a pretty good scandal … and pretty typical for a Trump appointee.

It turns out the head of the Centers of Disease Control, Branda Fitzgerald, traded tobacco stocks — specifically Japan Tobacco  stocks — AFTER being appointed head of the  CDC.

Keep in mind, one of the major roles of the CDC is tobacco control and tobacco education. And you have the head of that agency actually trading in tobacco company stock. If that isn’t bad enough, Fitzgerald also traded in RJ Reynolds, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Philip Morris International and Altria Group before being appointed head of CDC. She’s involved up to her neck in Big Tobacco.

A quote from a  New York Times article (which frankly bent over backward to be fair to Fitzgerald, more than she likely deserved):

“The tobacco-related investments alarmed others. “It’s astonishing that the director of the Centers for Disease Control, which plays a major role in reducing tobacco use, would purchase stock in a tobacco company,” said William B. Schultz, a former general counsel for H.H.S.”

Hah, get this. This is what a sleaze this Fitzgerald was. She is supposedly an advocate for fighting childhood obesity,  but she once took a $1 million payout from Coca-Cola for her childhood obesity campaign. When sugary drinks are one of the biggest causes of childhood obesity.

From the New York Times overly fair article:

As the state’s public health chief, Dr. Fitzgerald made fighting childhood obesity one of her highest priorities. But she drew criticism from public health officials for accepting $1 million from Coca-Cola to pay for the effort. Her program drew heavily from the soda giant’s playbook, emphasizing Coke’s contention that exercise — rather than calorie control — is key to weight loss.

This is no different than Philip Morris financing anti-smoking campaigns, when they spend millions around the world finding ways to get kids hooked to cigarettes.

Are you kidding me? Not only has this sleaze owned tobacco stock for years and was trading in tobacco stock after she was appointed head of the CDC, she also takes money from Coca-Cola for an anti-obesity program?

What’s scary is this is pretty outrageous, but at the moment, this barely get a blip on the Trump outrage metre.

Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control

The good news that the acting director of the CDC is well-liked and seems to be good at her job and below the radar for the time being of the Trump Administration’s pro-corporate agenda:

From a Washington Post article:

When the notice finally went out on the CDC’s internal announcement board that the principal deputy director, Anne Schuchat, 58, with nearly three decades of CDC experience, would be taking over (again) as acting director, employees were very happy to hear the news.

“Yes! There is palpable relief that she’s back in charge,” said one analyst who did not want to be identified for obvious reasons. “You’d have joyous celebration if they made her permanent director.”

Early Thursday, Schuchat sent a “Dear Colleagues” email to staff thanking them for their work.

“It is an honor to provide leadership for our nation’s premier public health agency, and all of you, in this role. Please know that I take this responsibility very seriously and care tremendously about our continued excellence and strength,” she wrote.

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