After a testy exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Tuesday, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci called another Republican lawmaker a “moron” following questions about his finances.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) observed that Fauci is the highest-paid U.S. government official, with an annual salary greater than $400,000, and asked Fauci whether he would be willing to make his financial disclosure available to Congress.
“You have an annual salary in 2020 that was $434,000. You oversee over $5 billion in federal research grants. As the highest paid employee in the entire federal government, 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, according to the New York Post.
As a government employee, Fauci is required to regularly submit financial disclosures, which are available to the public and can be accessed through a Freedom of Information Act request. He was flabbergasted by Marshall’s line of questioning.
“I don’t understand why you’re asking me that question,” Fauci told the senator. “My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so.”
Marshall, who was seated in front of a large graphic that noted Fauci’s salary, claimed that “big tech giants” were working with Fauci to hide information about his finances from the pubic. “We’ll continue to look for it. Where would we find it?” Marshall asked.
“All you have to do is ask for it,” Fauci said, becoming flustered. “You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary.”
But Marshall continued to demand that Fauci state whether he’d be willing to file financial disclosures saying, “This is a huge issue.”
“Wouldn’t you agree with me that you have a — you see things before members of Congress would see them, so that there’s an air of appearance that maybe some shenanigans are going on?” Marshall said.
Fauci marveled at Marshall’s questions.
“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?” he exclaimed.
“We cannot find them. Our office cannot find them,” Marshall insisted. “Where would they be if they are public knowledge?”
“It is totally accessible to you if you want it,” Fauci said.
“For the public? Is it accessible to the public?” Marshall queried.
“To the public, to the public!” Fauci insisted.
“Great, we look forward to reviewing it,” Marshall said.
At this point, committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) interjected to end the exchange. “Sen. Marshall, Dr. Fauci has answered you,” she said. “It is public information and he’s happy to give it to you if you were to ask.”
Fauci’s next comments were caught on a hot mic.
“What a moron!” He muttered to himself. “Jesus Christ,” he swore.
According to the Post, a spokesperson for Fauci was unable to immediately direct the paper to the public financial disclosures the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director referenced. Center for Public Integrity reporter Liz Essley Whyte posted a copy of an April 2020 disclosure signed by Fauci on Twitter, but that document is extensively redacted. Whyte mentioned that Fauci and other government officials’ financial disclosures are available to anyone who requests copies because of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.