Top administration officials repeatedly pressured [Bright] to steer millions of dollars in contracts to the clients of a well-connected consultant.
…He had been protesting “cronyism” and contract abuse since 2017.
Questionable contracts have gone to “companies with political connections to the administration,” the complaint said, including a drug company tied to a friend of Jared Kushner’s.
…A lawyer for Dr. Bright, Debra Katz, said he felt a “moral obligation” to get the word out that the administration was pressing to stockpile an unproven and potentially dangerous coronavirus treatment, which was supplied by drugmakers in India and Pakistan and had not been certified by the Food and Drug Administration.
The complaint says top Department of Health and Human Services officials, including Dr. Kadlec, who oversees the strategic national stockpile, overruled scientific experts while awarding contracts to firms represented by the consultant, John Clerici.
…“Dr. Bright was vocal about his concerns regarding the inappropriate and possibly illegal communications between Mr. Clerici, Dr. Kadlec, Mr. Shuy and Mr. Meekins,” the complaint stated, referring to Bryan Shuy and Chris Meekins, two other department officials.
..At one point, it said, Dr. Bright called for an investigation by the inspector general “to help break up the ‘cottage industry’ of marketing consultants and political influence into these contracts.”
Dr. Bright also said Mr. Clerici pushed, albeit unsuccessfully, for an extension of a contract awarded to a company run by someone who was “friends with Jared” and “has Hollywood connections.”
…On Jan. 23, he met with Mr. Azar and Dr. Kadlec to press “for urgent access to funding, personnel and clinical specimens, including viruses,” that would be necessary to develop treatments, the complaint said. But Mr. Azar and Dr. Kadlec “asserted that the United States would be able to contain the virus” through travel bans, the complaint said, adding that Dr. Bright was cut out of future department meetings related to Covid-19.
…Dr. Bright’s was initially offered a narrower role at the National Institutes of Health to work on a new “Shark Tank”-style program to develop coronavirus treatments.
Who is Rick Bright? The Coronavirus Whistle-Blower Who Said The Trump Administration Steered Contracts to Cronies – The New York Times