WASHINGTON, D.C.: 1.31.2018 via Sierra Club Org — Today, it was announced that Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Brenda Fitzgerald resigned due to a scandal over her investments with tobacco, food and drug companies while she was serving as director. According to the Washington Post, these “complex financial interests” repeatedly forced her to recuse herself from the agency’s activities and kept her from testifying before lawmakers on public health issues.

Fitzgerald isn’t the only cabinet member with conflicts of interest, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt holds ties to the fossil fuel industry. Following Pruitt’s nomination, fossil companies and executives contributed to a political action committee (PAC) geared at supporting Pruitt’s nomination. In his previous role as Oklahoma’s attorney general, two federal PACs hosted in Pruitt’s Tulsa office received more than $500,000 from the energy industry between 2015 and 2016. Over Pruitt’s six years as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, he not only raised money from the fossil fuel industry but repeatedly sued the EPA over the environmental safeguards the fossil fuel industry is opposed to.

In response, Sierra Club Public Health Policy Director Liz Perera released the following statement:

“The fact that our top public health defender, the director of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, invested in disease-causing Tobacco products is terrifying. Brenda Fitzgerald’s conflict of interests could have had disastrous implications. There is no way to be certain that any action would have been taken had she not been caught in this scandal. There needs to be thorough investigation into CDC’s actions under Fitzgerald to make sure our public health hasn’t been put at risk.

“But Fitzgerald isn’t the only cabinet member with conflicts of interest, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is chummy with fossil fuel industry insiders. Stripping away Clean Air Act protections, rolling back landmark environmental safeguards like the Clean Power Plan and clean car standards after taking thousands of dollars from fossil fuel companies show that Pruitt isn’t here to serve the American people, he’s here to serve his fellow fossil fools. Americans deserve better than Trump’s corrupt cabinet, Pruitt deserves the same fate as Fitzgerald.”