Its always a bad sign when you fire a high ranking executive without following agency protocol. Yet, that is what DHHs did when it demoted Dr. Rick Bright. DHHS froze Dr. Bright out of his email account with no warning. DHHS demoted Dr. Bight from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the agency in charge of vaccines. Now, Dr. Bright has claimed he was demoted because he opposed investing public funds in a questionable remedy, hydroxychloroquine.
The move was planned for a year. Yet, it came abruptly. We can only guess what that might mean. Dr. Bright has said he will file an IG complaint with DHHS. Dr. Bright is a career public servant, not a political appointee. See Politico news report here.
The basis of his claim is not clear. He mentioned in his statement feeling pressured to provide funding to politically well-connected companies. That suggests a qui tam reprisal type claim. A qui tam action is one which alleges mis-use of federal funding. A person who reports mis-use of federal funds is protected from reprisal.
In forcing an abrupt departure with an unexpected freeze on his email account, DHHS has provided the doctor with helpful ammunition for whatever claim he will advance. This in an administration which already has an abysmal record in protecting whistleblowers. This administration has openly retaliated against whistleblowers.