Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent dustup with Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) over financial disclosure forms now has Marshall planning to introduce legislation named after the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
A spokesperson for the Kansas senator said on Thursday that the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals (FAUCI) Act would require the “public access of financial disclosures on the official Office of Government Ethics (OGE) website for administration officials like Dr. Fauci.” It would also require a list of those in government whose disclosures remain private. Marshall announced it himself Friday afternoon.
The bill comes after Marshall aggressively pressed Fauci about his financials during a Senate hearing on Tuesday. “Yes or no, would you be willing to submit to Congress and the public a financial disclosure that includes your past and current investments?” Marshall asked.
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Fauci was perplexed, as his financial disclosures are, in fact, public. “I don’t understand why you’re asking me that question,” Fauci replied. “My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so.”
Marshall then falsely claimed that the “big tech giants” are somehow to blame for the alleged mystery of Fauci’s records, which Marshall says his office couldn’t find. “All you have to do is ask for it,” an exasperated Fauci shot back. “You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary.”
When the exchange was over, a hot mic caught Fauci calling Marshall a “moron.”
“Jesus Christ,” he added.
Fauci’s financial disclosures are indeed public, but that doesn’t mean they’re particularly easy to access. The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit journalism center, noted on Thursday that they obtained Fauci’s 2020 financial disclosure in August of that year after having first requested it in May and along the way “politely badger[ing]” a government office about it. The disclosure was partially redacted because the National Institute of Health cited the Freedom of Information Act when handing it over, which the reporter says was unnecessary.
Marshall didn’t seem to realize there was any process for obtaining Fauci’s financials, and took his staff’s inability to find an easy link online to mean tech companies were conspiring with Fauci to keep his records secret … or something like that.
The FAUCI Act ostensibly would make the financials of “uniquely compensated” officials like Fauci more readily available. This is all well and good, but two days after Fauci took him to task in front of the nation, it seems like the legislation — as well as Marshall’s recent media tour — may have been born less out of a desire for transparency and more out of a desire to save face and spin the embarrassing exchange into a political win.
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