OIG: CDC missed most conflicts of interest in 2007

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s latest report covers “CDC’s ethics program for special government employees on federal advisory committees” (53-page PDF), which is significantly more interesting than that sentence makes it sound. For the report, OIG went through conflict-of-interest disclosure forms filed in 2007 for 246 members of FDA advisory committees and found that a striking number of them were incomplete or not properly acted upon. On one hand, “federal bureaucrats are real sticklers when it comes to filing paperwork” is hardly a headline, but on the other hand,the CDC’s ethics agreements are key to preserving the integrity of the committee advisory process.

Here are a few highlights taken from the report:

  • For almost all special Government employees, CDC did not ensure that financial disclosure forms were complete in 2007. CDC certified OGE Forms 450 with at least one omission in 2007 for 97 percent of SGEs. Most of the forms had more than one type of omission.
  • CDC did not identify or resolve potential conflicts of interest for 64 percent of special Government employees in 2007. Sixty-four percent of SGEs had potential conflicts of interest in 2007 that CDC did not identify and/or resolve before it certified their OGE Forms 450.
  • CDC did not ensure that 41 percent of special Government employees received required ethics training in 2007.
  • Fifteen percent of special Government employees did not comply with ethics requirements during committee meetings in 2007.

Auditors found that measurable conflicts of interest existed in many cases (58 percent) that had, nonetheless, been approved unresolved by CDC officials.

Leave a Reply