The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is attempting to keep money spent on things like Dr. Anthony Fauci’s salary, the highest-paid U.S. government employee, hidden from members of the public, according to a transparency advocate.
“There is a multi-layered strategy, funded by taxpayers, to keep taxpayers in the dark about how NIH is spending taxpayer money,” Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com, told Epoch TV’s “American Thought Leaders.”
Andrzejewski’s watchdog group discovered how much Fauci was getting paid and that he received a permanent pay bump in the early 2000s in part to prevent him from leaving the government.
Adam Andrzejewski, the CEO and founder of the government watchdog organization OpenTheBooks.com, in Washington on March 22, 2022. (Courtesy of the Conservative Partnership Institute)
In an effort to learn more about the top doctor, the group filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Jan. 28, 2021, asking for Fauci’s job description, disclosure documents, and other papers.
The NIH produced 51 pages of records in response to the request but did not provide any additional documents, nor did the agency produce records in response to two more requests from the group about documents related to Fauci, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.
“They’re not complying with open records law,” Andrzejewski said, triggering the suit and dozens of others from various groups.
The NIH said it did not violate the law. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee, ordered the parties to try to work out a solution. The parties agreed to a production schedule of 300 pages a month but so far, the produced pages have amounted to “virtually nothing of any value,” Andrzejewski said, in part because some of the pages have been largely redacted.
Fauci has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. The institute, part of the NIH, did not respond to a request for comment.
Andrzejewski, who was removed as a Forbes contributor because of his reporting on Fauci, said he expects to see waivers for conflicts of interest, including a waiver regarding the doctor’s wife, Christine Grady, because she is the chief bioethics official at NIH.
The documents being sought “should be immediately released by the NIH,” he added.
“We shouldn’t be having to engage in expensive litigation to open the books on Dr. Anthony Fauci or even to call for a nice repository of all the ethical studies from his wife, Christine Grady. All of this should be opened up. And this has public policy implications. If the Republicans take control the House, there is going to be endless oversight investigations of this entire COVID-19 response, with Dr. Fauci at the nexus of that hurricane. And so right now, they should get out in front of all of it and just open the books on everything, so the politicians, the pundits, the media, the people, so we can see how the sausage was made from A to Z.”