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Biden surgeon general pick banked over $2M last year on Covid-related speeches, consulting

The well-connected doctor that Joe Biden has nominated for the position of U.S. surgeon general made about $2.6 million in COVID-related consulting and speeches for corporate America, raising potential conflict-of-interest and ethical concerns. The nominee and longtime Biden adviser allegedly raked in most of the cash after it appeared Biden would become the Democrat presidential nominee.

Since January 2020, Obama retread and gun control advocate Dr. Vivek Murthy reportedly banked approximately $600,000 from Netflix, $410,00 from Airbnb (plus an additional 400K in stock options), and $400,000 from the parent company of the Carnival cruise line for providing advice on safety protocols and related matters.

He also reportedly received checks totaling in the range of $500,000 for delivering about 36 speeches at hospitals, health insurance companies, Google, Duke University, UBS Financial Services and elsewhere on various topics.

Several watchdog groups have questioned Murthy’s impartiality as a potential public health official given his corporate ties.

“The [financial] disclosure caught the attention of longtime health policy hands — saying that Murthy has the most financial entanglements of any surgeon general pick in recent history — and of watchdogs who raise questions about how credible he would be as a spokesperson on the pandemic response and presidential adviser,” the Washington Post explained.

Murthy, who was surgeon general under Obama, has promised, however, to avoid participating in any government matters involving his former consulting clients for one year “unless authorized to do so,” the Post added. The authorization clause seems to provide a rather large loophole.

The Democrats have enough votes to confirm him if Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., plays ball. Manchin is currently undecided about the Murthy confirmation. He voted against him in 2014.

Democrats strongly criticized some Trump nominees such as ex-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for their corporate involvement, but have apparently raised no objections to Murthy’s lucrative private sector income stream.

Republicans in the past have criticized Murthy for claiming that gun violence constitutes a public health issue.

Short-memory liberal Twitter is predictably taking the position that there is nothing to see here and have suddenly developed an appreciation for making big bucks through corporate connections.

Some dissented, however, including Jeff Hauser of the Revolving Door Project, a component of the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research think tank.

 

Robert Jonathan

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