CDC director resigns after reports she bought and sold tobacco company stocks

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Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald held "certain complex financial interests" that she could not sell in time, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, forcing her to recuse herself from many duties as head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fitzgerald became director of the CDC in July, bought stock in Japan Tobacco in August 2017, and sold it at the end of October.

A lengthy delay in Fitzgerald's divestment of her stock holdings, which included shares in health-care companies, was cited by the Trump administration Wednesday morning as the reason for her resignation.

In December, Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee which oversees the CDC, urged Fitzgerald to resolve ongoing conflicts of interest. "These additional purchases did not change the scope of Dr. Fitzgerald's recusal obligations, and Dr. Fitzgerald has since also divested of these newly acquired potentially conflicting publicly traded stock holdings". This prevented her from testifying at a January hearing and prompted scrutiny in Congress.

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Fitzgerald, the former Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner, assumed the CDC leadership on July 7. She told the news organization that selling investments in an electronic medical records company and a cancer screening company that were part of her husband's retirement account had proved hard. Fitzgerald also reportedly purchased stocks ranging from $15,001 to $50,000 in U.S. Food Holding Corporation, a food distributor for restaurant and other institutions connected to the industries like healthcare, hospitality, education and more.

Buying shares of tobacco companies has led critics to call her behavior "sloppy" at best, and at worst, "legally problematic".

Fitzgerald sold her shares of tobacco stock on October 26, and all of her stock holdings worth more than $1,000 by November 21, according to the article. He now serves as president of Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health and consumer safety think tank. Schuchat is a former acting CDC director. It's an appointment that never should have been made.

Fitzgerald's then-boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, resigned last September after Politico exposed Price repeatedly had used expensive private charter flights for official travel as opposed to flying commercial.