Drain the Swamp

The corruption and self-dealing continue as insiders exploit the pandemic. More than ever, we need to drain the swamp. The wife of the second-ranking official at the Department of Health and Human Services is now a lobbyist. Eric Hargen is her husband.  As first reported by Stat News, three healthcare companies pay Emily Hargan to lobby HHS. According to lobbying registry disclosures, between June and July Nostrum Pharmaceuticals paid her $28,000 for lobbying; Smart Meter paid $10,000; and $10,000 from TL Management which operates over 100 nursing homes. Strangely, she has no lobbying disclosures before her HHS work in June of this year.

However, she appeared with her husband during an official business trip in his official capacity as HHS Deputy Secretary. The problem is she was paid to lobby his department at the same time. All three contracts were still active on that day. What happened to draining the swamp?

Emily Hargan even tweeted a photo at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Screenshot of Emily Hargan's since-deleted tweet, which reads, "Enjoyed being back in my hometown yesterday & visiting @wakehealth with my husband. Great work they're doing!
“They can delete tweets but they can’t hide the reality of influence-peddling and self-dealing that is sadly all too common in this Trump/Azar health department,” said spokesperson Eli Zupnick. “This is exactly the kind of conflict of interest that needs to be rooted out.”
Ethics experts and consumer advocates are questioning why a senior HHS official’s wife is lobbying his department. Progressive group Patients Over Pharma said the Hargans appearing at an official event together shows that HHS Secretary Alex Azar is allowing open conflicts of interest under his watch.
Have they ever heard of a conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety?  Drain the Swamp in November.