The question of whether the Center for Disease Control and the Food & Drug Administration were politicized during the COVID-19 pandemic is one that has been asked on both sides of the aisle. Now any answer may be available to the public.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), said it has accepted a request from three Senators and would examine “whether the CDC and FDA’s scientific integrity and communications policies have been violated and whether those policies are being implemented as intended to assure scientific integrity throughout the agency.”
The GAO is an independent governmental agency, operating on behalf of Congress as a watchdog, that investigates, audits, and evaluates agency, department, and operations.
The formal request for an investigation was made by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
Earlier this month, @SenGaryPeters, @PattyMurray and I requested that @USGAO investigate Trump's political interference at the CDC and FDA. They agreed. This is a good first step towards making sure that COVID-19 guidance is based on facts and science.https://t.co/3rd3sQ0Dnr pic.twitter.com/DhSE9NRlsl
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 19, 2020
The President has also accused the national medical apparatus of political interference – specifically the FDA – claiming that elements of the “Deep State” and/or political partisans at the administration were obstructing the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, attempting to keep it from the market until after the November 3, 2020, election.
HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo recently alluded to a “resistance unit” of careerists at the CDC and FDA in Facebook livestream last month, himself claiming that agency bureaucrats were politicizing their work.
Calling them scientists who “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops,” Caputo said, “There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.”
Caputo denied allegations of political interference inferred by Warren, Murray, and Peters, saying his office “clears virtually all public facing documents for all of its divisions, including CDC.”
“Our intention is to make sure that evidence, science-based data drives policy through this pandemic – not ulterior Deep State motives in the bowels of CDC,” he said.
A GAO spokesman told reporters the agency would have the manpower to begin the probe in January “as staff who cover those issues become available.”