Lawyers: Investigators Recommend Whistleblower Be Reinstated

Rick Bright, then-deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, March 8, 2018.
Toya Sarno Jordan/Bloomberg via Getty Images (File)

Federal investigators have found “reasonable grounds” that a government whistleblower was punished for opposing widespread use of an unproven drug that President Donald Trump touted as a remedy for COVID-19, his lawyers said Friday.

Dr. Rick Bright headed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. He had received a job performance review of outstanding before he was summarily transferred last month. The agency is a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Investigators with the Office of Special Counsel “made a threshold determination that HHS violated the Whistleblower Protection Act by removing Dr. Bright from his position because he made protected disclosures in the best interest of the American public," his lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement. The OSC is an agency that investigates whistleblower complaints.

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The lawyers said investigators are requesting that HHS reinstate Bright.

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