Fauci, Washington’s Highest-Paid Fed, Got Big Break Under George W. Bush

By Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
HillFaith Founding Editor, Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times, FOIA Hall of Fame, Reaganaut, Okie/Texan.
October 20, 2021 Updated: October 20, 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci drew a salary of $434,312 in 2020, making him the federal government’s highest-paid employee for the second year in a row, and the top earner among dozens of medical officers receiving high salaries throughout the executive branch.

Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and current chief medical adviser to the president, was paid $417,608 in 2019.

That’s according to federal compensation data compiled and published by Open The Books, an Illinois-based nonprofit that compiles and publishes millions of salary, pension, and other spending data for the federal and state governments, as well as the nation’s largest cities. The federal salary database can be found here.

Fauci is paid more than the president of the United States, the vice president, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and all nine Supreme Court justices.

Fauci, at $399,625, was the third-highest-paid federal employee in 2018, exceeded only by Robert J. Wylie, a medical officer colleague at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The second highest that year was another HHS medical officer, Rachel Sherman, at $399,750.

Fauci received $384,625 in 2017 and 2016. A spokesman for Fauci’s agency didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and made public on Oct. 20 by Open The Books reveal that Fauci’s inclusion in the highest-paid ranks of the federal government came under President George W. Bush.

The justification for Fauci’s huge pay increase—to $335,000 from $200,000, a 68 percent increase from 2004 to 2006—was the launching of a counter-bioterrorism research program at NIAID in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., and the Sept. 18, 2001, anthrax attack on Congress that followed a week later.

Fauci oversaw the research and writing of a 15-page document—the NIAID Strategic Plan for Biodefense Research—that described the proposed program’s goals and needed resources.

The permanent pay raise was “in order to appropriately compensate him for the level of responsibility in his current position of Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), especially as it relates to his work on biodefense research activities,” according to a December 2004 letter released by Open The Books.

Fauci was described in that letter as “leading the development of a series of research initiatives, has coordinated fast-track initiatives for academia and industry participation in biodefense-related research, and is responsible for the development of future intermediate and long-range research plans and policies for a sustained and committed biomedical research response to bioterrorism threats. During FY2004, under Dr. Fauci’s leadership, NIAID significantly expanded, intensified, and accelerated its research programs in biodefense.”

A major goal of the biodefense research is to help prevent pandemics in the United States caused by terrorist groups or by one or more of the country’s national adversaries, including especially Russia and communist China.

Since then, Fauci has overseen the awarding of billions of dollars worth of research grants to academic, corporate, and institutional researchers in biodefense.

Included was a grant initiated in 2014 and renewed annually thereafter entitled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.” The initial grant was awarded by Fauci’s agency to the EcoHealth Alliance, the New York-based nonprofit that has been involved in research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Many U.S. experts and government officials suspect the CCP virus that has killed more than 725,000 Americans since early 2020 either accidentally leaked or was purposely released from the Wuhan facility.

“Most emerging human viruses come from wildlife, and these represent a significant threat to global public health and biosecurity—as demonstrated by the SARS coronavirus pandemic of 2002-03 and an ongoing SARS-like epidemic in the Middle East,” according to the grant award, which was initially for more than $660,000.

“This project seeks to understand what factors allow animal Coronaviruses to evolve and jump into the human population by studying virus diversity in a critical group of animals (bats), a site of high risk for emergence (wildlife markets) in an emerging disease hotspot (China).”

The EcoHealth grants have been controversial from the outset because of their connection with “gain-of-function” research. Such research seeks to develop ways of strengthening the effects of viruses such as the coronavirus. While President Barack Obama directed a pause in U.S. funding of such research in 2014, Fauci renamed the research and resumed the grants in 2017, in a move that reportedly surprised many in the biodefense and medical research communities.

Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
HillFaith Founding Editor, Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times, FOIA Hall of Fame, Reaganaut, Okie/Texan.