GOP senator dubbed a ‘moron’ by Fauci claims to be drafting ‘FAUCI Act’ off back of exchange

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  • Anthony Fauci
    Anthony Fauci
    American immunologist and head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Days after being called a “moron” by White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci for making false claims about his financial disclosures, Kansas senator Roger Marshall plans to introduce legislation named for the federal government’s top infectious disease expert that would make such disclosures easier to find.

According to multiple reports, Sen Marshall plans to put forward a bill dubbed the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals Act — or FAUCI Act for short — to make public Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure forms.

A spokesperson for Sen Marshall told The Independent the senator will be introducing the legislature, “which requires the public access of financial disclosures on the official Office of Government Ethics (OGE) website for administration officials like Dr Fauci” as well as “provide a list of all confidential filers within the government whose financial disclosures are not public”.

The former obstetrician and gynaecologist’s plans come just days after a contentious exchange between the senator and the longtime National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease director over the financial disclosure forms Dr Fauci, the federal government’s highest-paid employee, is required to file.

During a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Help, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee, Sen Marshall asked Dr Fauci whether he would be “willing” to provide “a financial disclosure that includes [his] past and current investments”.

The question may have come as a surprise to Dr Fauci, who under the Ethics in Government Act must submit an annual financial disclosure because his salary —$417,608 in 2019 according to public records — is more than $132,552 per year (120 per cent of the $110,460 earned per year by a civil servant on the minimum end of the GS-15 pay grade).

The veteran virologist appeared more than a bit perplexed as he replied: “I don't understand why you're asking me that question. My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so – 35 years that I've been director.”

The senator then accused “tech giants” of hiding the disclosure forms Dr Fauci is required to file each year as a top National Institutes of Health executive and suggested that there could be “shenanigans going on,” tacitly implying that Dr Fauci could be using knowledge gained in his official capacity to play the stock market. Although Sen Marshall claimed Dr Fauci’s annual disclosure has been “hidden,” in reality it is available from the National Institutes of Health upon request under the Freedom of Information Act.

An increasingly exasperated Dr Fauci replied: “Senator, what are you talking about? My financial disclosures are public knowledge and have been so. You are getting amazingly wrong information. What are you talking about?”

After telling Sen Marshall that his disclosures were “totally accessible” and stressing that the senator was “totally incorrect,” a hot microphone caught Dr Fauci muttering under his breath: “What a moron, Jesus Christ!”

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