Sens. Marshall, Ernst, Grassley, Lee, Blackburn Lead Letter to HHS Surgeon General Demanding Investigation Into NIH Email Misconduct

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. led a letter with Senate colleagues Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Surgeon General Vivek Murthy requesting an immediate investigation into potential misconduct and multiple violations of federal law by David Morens, a Captain on long-term assignment to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a leadership position. 

According to a document acquired by the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Captain Morens deliberately avoided compliance with federal laws by using his personal email to conduct official government business. Even writing, “As you know, I try to always communicate on gmail because my NIH email is FOIA’D constantly. Yesterday my gmail was hacked, probably by these GoF [explicative], and until IT can get it fixed I may have to occasionally email from my NIH account. IT spent a couple hours today but couldn’t fix it. Stuff sent to my gmail gets to my phone, but not my NIH computer.

In the letter to the HHS, the Senators outlined the Captain’s blatant disregard for the law by using his personal email to circumvent federal record-keeping requirements. The emails also reveal that the Captain potentially abused his authority, engaged in activities without disclosing financial conflicts of interest, and opened the NIH cyber security networks to risks.  

“We write to request an immediate investigation into potential misconduct and violations of federal laws, regulations and agency policies by a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service Commission Corp (USPHS Commissioned Corp) assigned to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a top science advisor,” the Senators wrote. 

“Some of Captain Morens email recipients involved direct consultations with foreign nationals which may be in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA),” the lawmakers wrote.

“Captain Morens has violated the public trust with his reckless, flagrant and deliberate disregard of his legal and ethical duties. A security sweep of his communications should include any references to NIH official business, grants, internal deliberations, privileged communications, communications and other NIH leadership strategies,” the letter said.

You may click HERE or scroll below to read the full letter to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.