Forbes: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s 400 Media Events Cost Taxpayers During The Pandemic 73_fauci_media_appearances

June 15, 2021 11:04 AM

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Dr. Anthony Fauci adjusts a face mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington on March 18, 2021.Susan Walsh/AP

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By Adam Andrzejewski

New information has emerged casting doubt about whether Dr. Anthony Fauci has been serving the public interest or his own personal interests since the Covid-19 pandemic began. 

When did the doctor have time to follow the science?

Since January 1, 2020, Dr. Fauci participated in 354 television, radio, podcast, and online interviews, including lectures, panel discussions, speeches, and press conferences. Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com compiled a database from the online archive posted at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

Not included in the government’s media disclosures were 1) Dr. Fauci’s book deal and forthcoming documentary film with National Geographic, 2) many of the early pandemic press conferences with Donald Trump, and 3) the current twice-per-week conferences with Joe Biden’s Covid-19 task force.

Taxpayers paid a hefty sum for Dr.  Fauci’s media appearances. 

In January, our investigation published at Forbes found Dr. Fauci’s salary in 2019 was $417,608. In 2020, Dr. Fauci earned $434,000 with estimated earnings of $650,000 since the pandemic hit. Dr. Fauci out-earned all 4.3 million federal employees, including four-star generals and the president. 

Critics have questioned why Dr. Fauci participated in so many interviews for such a long time when his position did not primarily involve public affairs.

Since 1913, the Gillett Amendment expressly limits the government’s interaction with the public by barring the “publicity man” or “propagandist,” i.e. taxpayer dollars must be used to inform the public, and not to manufacture public opinion. “Appropriated funds may not be used to pay a publicity expert unless specifically appropriated for that purpose,” the law states.

Did Dr. Fauci blur the lines between publicity, propaganda, public affairs, and his positions as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President?

It’s unclear why Dr. Fauci needed to go on a media tour when federal health agencies already employ public relations experts. We reached out to Dr. Fauci for comment and will update the piece if he responds. 

In fact, the three agencies involved in pandemic response—National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers For Disease Control (CDC), and the Food And Drug Administration (FDA)—already employ 162 public affairs officers for $20 million in yearly payroll costs. On average, each public affairs officer earned $128,000 in salary alone.

Here are the salary costs broken out by agency for their public affairs officer positions:

  • NIH employed 80 public affairs officers for $10.3 million. 
  • CDC employed 35 public affairs officers for $4.6 million.
  • FDA employed 46 public affairs officers for $5.6 million. 

Roughly $30 million in cash compensation has already been paid out by these three agencies to public affairs officers since the pandemic became known (January 1, 2020 through the current date).

Dr. Fauci, however, has taken the lead role in pandemic-related public outreach efforts for the last 18 months. American taxpayers might wonder why they’re footing the bill for Dr. Fauci’s salary when they’re already paying for a small army of public affairs professionals. 

Furthermore, since the release of Dr. Fauci’s emails by The Washington Post and BuzzFeed, material questions have emerged as to whether the doctor misled the public during his media interviews. 

Last week, National Geographic, Amazon AMZN -0.3%, and other booksellers removed a pre-sale option to purchase Dr. Fauci’s book from their websites after his contradictory emails became public. 

For example, a National Geographic interview with Dr. Fauci from May 2020 is still posted on the outlet’s website entitled, “No Scientific Evidence The Coronavirus Was Made In A Chinese Lab.” However, Dr. Fauci recently admitted further investigation is necessary and his emails show he was alerted to the lab-leak theory as early as February 2020. 

According to The New York Times NYT  0.2%, Fauci is not receiving royalties or payments from the book or documentary with National Geographic.

Further Reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci media database at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, here.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Is The Highest Paid Public Employee In The Entire Federal Government, here.

A Call To Repeal The Gillett Amendment, here.

National Geographic, No Scientific Evidence The Coronavirus Was Made In A Chinese Lab, here.

NOTE: Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Anthony Fauci’s employment contract (and other job related documents) in January 2021. Despite repeated attempts, we have yet to receive production.

We contacted Dr. Fauci directly with our request for comment, as well as, the media contacts at NIAID. As of press time, no responses were forthcoming.

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