Home Health Vaccine project contract raises transparency questions

Vaccine project contract raises transparency questions

HHS officials said that Slaoui had agreed to be reimbursed for housing and hotel expenses that amount to about $ 17,000 between May and Aug. 22, 2020, and that the contract — which was awarded to a firm called Advanced Decision Vectors and could top $ 684,000 — was the maximum the government could pay and, but not necessarily what it would pay out. Slaoui lived in the Philadelphia area before joining Operation Warp Speed.

“Any funds not used to reimburse Dr. Slaoui for housing or hotel expenses will be returned to the U.S. Government,” said a senior official. HHS said it could not share details about de Notaristefani’s salary because it was proprietary information.

Details about the contract were publicly posted to USASpending.gov, with a start date of May 15, the same day that Trump announced Slaoui’s selection in the Rose Garden. “Consultant will provide expert advice regarding development and mass production of new Covid-19 vaccine candidates, therapeutics and diagnostics, as well as advising HHS regarding coordination among ASPR, NIH and FDA, the aforementioned act,” the contract’s description reads.

The New York Times first reported that Slaoui’s personal expenses were being covered by a contractor.

HHS said that Slaoui “had zero involvement” in hiring of other consultants brought in through the contract and that de Notaristefani’s role in Operation Warp Speed predated Slaoui’s involvement.

Democrats have raised persistent questions about why the Trump administration brought in Slaoui as a contractor and not as a special government employee, which would open him up to additional disclosures and ethics requirements.

“It appears that the administration came up with an unusual arrangement for Dr. Slaoui in a blatant attempt to skirt federal ethics law,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) wrote to HHS last month.

For instance, Slaoui held more than 155,000 shares in Moderna, which announced positive news about a potential coronavirus vaccine three days after Slaoui was named to the top adviser post. The news inflated the value of Slaoui’s Moderna shares by about $ 2.4 million, although an HHS spokesperson said that Slaoui was immediately divesting and donating the $ 2.4 million in gains to charity.

Source Health Care

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