Just months after being named head of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald has abruptly stepped down from her position after a damning report claimed she was, ironically, actively profiting off of diseases thanks to a number of shady stock purchases.
According to a report published by Politico on Tuesday evening, Fitzgerald had purchased stock in Japan Tobacco—one of the world’s largest tobacco companies—on August 8 of last year. While the exact amount of stock purchased is unclear, documents obtained by Politico suggest Fitzgerald’s buy was anywhere from $1,001 to $15,000 worth of stock. Just one day after purchasing the shares, she went on a tour of the CDC facility dedicated to researching the harmful health effects of...tobacco.
According to Politico, Fitzgerald eventually sold her Japan Tobacco stock in late October.
Nevertheless, less than 24 hours after being outed for apparently shorting her own work as one of America’s top medical professionals, newly installed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar—who oversees the CDC—announced that Fitzgerald had resigned her post, due to “complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all her duties as the CDC director.”
Azar continued, citing not only the glaring inappropriate nature of her stock purchases but their timing as well, for her resignation:
Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period. After advising Secretary Azar of both the status of the financial interests and the scope of her recusal, Dr. Fitzgerald tendered, and the Secretary accepted, her resignation. The Secretary thanks Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald for her service and wishes her the best in all her endeavors.
Prior to serving as Trump’s head of the CDC, Fitzgerald served as Georgia’s Department of Public Health Commissioner, and had unsuccessfully run for the GOP nomination in the state’s 7th congressional district. She also once threw boxes of “tea” into the Chattahoochee River with Newt Gingrich.