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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
25 Mar 2023

NextImg:Rand, Roy Proposal Would Break Fauci's Former Domain Into Three Institutes With Senate-Confirmed Chiefs

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s former long-time National Institutes of Health (NIH) empire would be divided into three separate operational divisions with presidentially appointed leaders serving time-limited terms under legislation (pdf) introduced in Congress by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).

The proposed NIH Reform Act would divide NIH’s current National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which Fauci managed for more than 38 years—longer than J. Edgar Hoover oversaw the FBI—by creating three new, separate institutes, one for allergic diseases, a second for infectious diseases, and a third for immunological diseases.

The reform proposal provides presidentially appointed directors for each of the three new NIH institutes, with Senate confirmation required for no more than two consecutive five-year terms. By contrast, Fauci was appointed to head NIAID by then-NIH Director James Wynngaarden in 1984.

When Fauci retired from that position in December 2022, he was the highest-paid federal employee, making more than the President of the United States. His federal retirement pension will also be greater than the Chief Executive’s annual salary.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 14, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Fauci’s wife, Christine Grady, also is highly compensated and is listed on the NIH website as “senior investigator” and “chief of the Department of Bioethics at NIH’s Health Clinical Center.” Her title is currently listed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as “social science” with a pay level of $238,970, according to data compiled by OTB. The current top pay rate (pdf) for federal government executive-level officials is $226,300.

Fauci has been the center of deepening controversy ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began in January 2020 with the first U.S. death from the virus that is widely suspected of having escaped from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci’s NIAID has provided millions of dollars in research grants that ended up funding that lab, via sub-grants from the EcoHealth Alliance non-profit.

Fauci was a highly visible advisor during the pandemic to then-President Donald Trump and then as Chief White House Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden. Fauci has provided contradictory public advice on multiple pandemic-related issues, including whether masks are effective in preventing the spread of the disease.

“We’ve learned a lot over the past few years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator-in-chief.’ No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,” Paul said in a statement jointly issued with Roy.

“To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I’ve introduced this bill to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s previous position as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and divide the role into three separate new institutes. This will create accountability and oversight into a taxpayer-funded position that has largely abused its power and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Paul said.

​​House Rules Committee member Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said during the panel’s four-hour meeting that ending the federal healthcare worker vaccination mandate is “part of a bigger discussion that we should have regarding deference to the executive [branch] and to the bureaucratic state” in Washington, on Jan. 30, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“From the earliest days of the pandemic, unaccountable public health bureaucrats proved themselves far more adept at ruining lives than saving them. Never again should a single individual, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, wield unchecked power and influence over the lives of the American people,” Roy said in the statement.

“Breaking up Dr. Fauci’s taxpayer-funded bully pulpit into three separate agencies—and requiring Senate confirmation for all their future directors—is one of many actions necessary to allow the American people to hold public health agencies accountable,” the Texas Republican continued.

In their joint statement, Paul and Roy pointed out that “this type of reorganization is nothing new. In the aftermath of J. Edgar Hoover’s decades-long tenure as head of the FBI, Congress passed a law in 1976 limiting the FBI Director to a single 10-year term, and as recently as 2012, Congress eliminated one center within the NIH and replaced it with a new one.”

The triple division of NIAID is necessary, they said, because “in the aftermath of the damage done by pandemic-era mandates and restrictions, Congress must enact the NIH Reform Act to ensure that one official cannot claim the unquestioned authority to dictate the governmental responses to public health questions.”

Fauci has also been a lightning rod for criticism as a result of NIH’s controversial policy allowing employees to receive royalties from pharmaceutical manufacturers for their assistance in developing new drugs. The amounts of the royalties, as well as who paid and who received them, have until recently been kept secret by NIH.

Acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak conceded during a recent congressional hearing that such secret royalty payments create the appearance of a conflict of interest, although he insisted that the agency has sufficient internal safeguards to prevent such an occurrence.

Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health Lawrence Tabak testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee on Health hearing about the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Washington on Feb. 8, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The secret royalties were exposed by Open The Books (OTB), a nonprofit government watchdog that filed a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Those requests were ignored by NIH until OTB took the agency to federal court.

When a federal judge ordered NIH to release the information to OTB, it was learned that payments totaling in excess of  $134 million were paid to more than 1,600 NIH executives, scientists, and researchers by outside firms, thought to be primarily from the pharmaceutical industry, between 2010 and 2014. The matter was first reported by The Epoch Times in May.

Royalty payments went to at least three of the top echelon of NIH leaders, including Dr. Francis Collins, the immediate past director of NIH, who got 14 payments. Fauci received 23 payments and his deputy, Clifford Lane, received eight.