National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci has spent much of his time being a media hound for COVID-19, not focusing on science, a report finds.
Auditors at the taxpayer watchdog organization, OpenTheBooks calculated Fauci made 354 public appearances since January 1, 2020. The appearances include speeches, interviews, and podcasts, and do not include the twice-weekly news conferences with President Joe Biden, the weekly news conferences with Donald Trump, work on a National Geographic documentary, and a book deal.
OpenThe Books used government records to make the calculation of appearances and to determine the cost to taxpayers. With a salary in 2019 of $427,608, Fauci is the highest-paid government employee, earning more than four-star generals and U.S. presidents, according to the group’s researchers. Fauci holds a medical degree and decades of experience in senior research roles. His primary responsibility at NIAID, as stated by the agency’s website, is to oversee “an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious disease,” and makes no mention of public affairs work.
Possible Law Violation
Fauci’s numerous public appearances may be in violation of federal law. The Gillett Amendment to the Deficiency Appropriation Act states “appropriated funds may not be used to pay a publicity expert unless specifically appropriated for that purpose.”
“This law is on the books for a very good reason,” said Adam Andrzejewski, the CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks, on the Heartland Daily Podcast. “You don’t want government bureaucrats undermining our elected officials.”
There are calls to repeal the Gillett Amendment, but Andrzejewski says that would be a mistake.
“It bars the publicity man, the propagandist,” Andrzejewski said. “Tax dollars should be spent to inform the public, not manufacture public opinion.”
Whether Fauci violated the Gillett Amendment is a question for Congress, says Andrzejewski.
“Fauci is not breaking new scientific research,” Andrzejewski said. “He’s out there trying to get the public to take specific actions. Did he blur the lines between publicity, propaganda, public affairs, and his position as a director of a government agency?”
Government Employs PR Staff
OpenTheBooks points out that taxpayers pay millions of dollars to government employees whose sole job is to communicate with the public and media. The organization calculated that the National Institutes of Health (the umbrella agency of the NIAID), the Centers for Disease Control, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pay $20 million to employ 162 public affairs officers at an average of $128,000 per employee.
Fauci’s intent has come under more scrutiny after thousands of his emails were released under Freedom of Information Act requests. Emails show Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg asking for Fauci’s help in producing a video for a “Coronavirus information hub.” Another email showed Fauci agreeing with the idea. Facebook later banned posts questioning the origins of the COVID-19 virus, COVID-19 vaccine safety, COVID-19 mortality rates, natural immunity, and “harmful self-medication.”
OpenTheBooks filed a Freedom of Information Act request in January seeking Fauci’s employment contract, his job description, conflict of interest documents, and other disclosures, but despite repeated requests, including a direct email appeal to Fauci himself, there has been no response.
AnneMarie Schieber (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the managing editor of Health Care News.
“Anthony Fauci’s Negligence Exposed (Guest: Adam Andrzejewski)“, The Heartland Daily Podcast, June 30, 2021