Fauci’s financial disclosure forms are publicly available
In a moment at the microphone, Dr. Anthony Fauci called Senator Roger Marshall a “jerk” after the Kansas Republican asked Fauci to release “a financial disclosure form.”
Marshall did not appear to be aware that federal law already requires Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to submit an annual financial disclosure report – similar to members of Congress – and those reports are publicly available.
The exchange took place as follows:
Marshall, January 11: As the highest paid employee in the entire federal government, yes or no, would you be prepared to submit a financial disclosure to Congress and the public? [form] who understands your past and current investments? After all, your colleague Dr. [Rochelle] Walensky and each member of Congress submit a financial statement that includes their investments.
Fauci: I do not understand why you are asking me this question. My financial disclosure is common knowledge and has been for the last 37 years or so, 35 years.
Marshal: The big tech giants are doing an incredible job of keeping it from being public. We will continue to look for it. Where would we find it?
Fauci: All you have to do is ask. You are so misinformed that it is extraordinary. All you have to do is ask.
Fauci is right. We know this because last year we requested Fauci’s most recent financial disclosure form and obtained a redacted copy of his 2019 report.
Fauci’s report and what it says
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which was enacted in response to Watergate, requires certain federal employees to file annual financial statements on or around May 15 of each year. The United States Office of Government Ethics, which was established by the Ethics Act of 1978, oversees the financial disclosure system.
As the Congressional Research Service explained in an Aug. 17 report on the Financial Disclosure Act, reports filed by “the most senior members of the executive – the president, vice president, and appointees and candidates to positions classified at Levels I and II of the Executive Calendar – are available directly on the EMB website. This would include, for example, Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to whom Marshall referred in her remarks, as she is a presidential nomination subject to Senate confirmation.
CRS goes on to explain, “All other public financial statements can be accessed using the OGE 201 form. For 2020, OGE reported that there were 26,889 public filers. This would include Fauci.
(Financial disclosure reports for some federal employees remain confidential, but Fauci is not one of them. Confidential financial disclosure reports are filed by public officials who are “classified at or below GS-15 level or below. not the pay or classification threshold for public filing, “CRS said in its report. Fauci, as Marshall said, is a very well paid employee.)
OGE provides information on its website about who files and how to access their reports. It’s a multi-step process that could be made a lot more user-friendly, but we followed the instructions and got the report from Fauci.
As noted, we first sent an email requesting Fauci’s Financial Disclosure Form to [email protected] at the Department of Health and Human Services. We received a response that said, “For your request for copies of Dr. Fauci’s financial disclosures, you will need to complete the attachment, sign and submit your request to the NIH FOIA office at [email protected]” This attachment was Form OGE 201.
One business day after submitting our request to the FOIA office of the National Institutes of Health, we received a drafted version of Fauci’s 42-page report that covered his financial activity for 2019. The form was signed by Fauci on April 21, 2020 and certified by an agency ethics officer on May 18, 2020.
These forms include information about the filers’ assets, income, employment contracts, transactions, debts and gifts for themselves, their spouse and dependent children.
Fauci’s 2019 report shows that it is invested in money markets, bond funds and equity funds, and provides the amounts of unrealized gains or losses for these accounts in 2019. It shows gains of investment, for example, of $ 390,000 in the CIBC Atlas Disciplined Equity Fund. Most of his funds appeared to be managed through Fauci’s Schwab One trust account.
Marshall’s questions suggest that Fauci may be hiding a conflict of interest. But the purpose of the annual disclosure forms is to allow designated agency ethics officers, or DAEOs, to review conflict reports and take action, if necessary.
“If, after review, the DAEO determines that there is a conflict of interest, it can, if necessary, negotiate with the depositor to remedy the conflict,” the CRS said in its report. “There are several remedial options … including recusal, divestiture, resignation, waiver or the creation of a qualified blind or diversified trust.”
So, when it comes to Fauci’s financial disclosure forms, the senator was wrong when he said “big technology” “keeps it from being public.” Federal law does not require OGE to publish Fauci’s annual report on its website, but its annual reports are accessible to the public by completing and submitting Form OGE 201, as we did last year.
In an after the fact press release, Marshall’s office said, “Contrary to what Dr. Fauci has said, Dr. Fauci’s financial disclosures for the years of the COVID pandemic are not public. Therefore, Senator Marshall requested them at today’s hearing.
But that’s not what Marshall asked at the hearing. He asked for the same financial information reported by “your colleague Dr Walensky and every member of Congress.” Fauci follows the same reporting rules as Walensky and similar rules as Congress.
For the record, Marshall’s financial disclosure report for the 2020 calendar year is available on the Senate website. Her form is much easier to access, and we welcome any effort Marshall and other members of Congress may take to make executive disclosure forms more readily available.
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