GAO to investigate whether White House influenced COVID-19 vaccine approval process, pandemic response

The Government Accountability Office will probe whether the White House interfered with FDA and CDC operations during the nation’s pandemic response, a group of Senate Democrats announced Oct. 20.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Gary Peters D-Mich., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., formally requested the investigation in an Oct. 8 letter in which they cite several alleged examples of White House appointees influencing the FDA and CDC to downplay the pandemic’s severity.

GAO accepted the request in an Oct. 16 letter, writing it would “review whether the CDC and FDA’s scientific integrity and communications policies have been violated and whether those policies are being implemented as intended to assure scientific integrity.” 

The independent watchdog said it would not begin to conduct the investigation for “about three months.” The project has been assigned to Nikki Clowers, the managing director of GAO’s healthcare team. 

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