Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bought tobacco stock after she took over the agency’s top job, according to documents obtained by Politico. Yes, the Trump administration’s top public health official bought shares in a tobacco company, despite the fact that her job is to reduce tobacco use.
As a medical doctor and former Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner, Fitzgerald has worked to end tobacco use, as it is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Despite that, per Politico, Fitzgerald bought shares in Japan Tobacco, one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, after she took over at the CDC.
Fitzgerald has resigned her post in light of the report.
The day after the purchase, Fitzgerald “toured the CDC’s Tobacco Laboratory, which researches how the chemicals in tobacco harm human health,” according to Politico. This isn’t unusual for Fitzgerald, apparently, as she owned stock in five other tobacco companies before taking the position at the CDC.
Last month, Sen. Patty Murray said Fitzgerald’s ability to do her job was hindered by “ongoing conflicts of interest.” At any rate, with Fitzgerald out, those conflicts of interest have been resolved.