(BLP) – Special payouts from Big Pharma over the past ten years to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins and other top officials with the National Institutes of Health are raising major ethical questions from members of Congress.

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) raised the subject during a recent hearing with current acting NIH director Dr. Lawrence Tabak. He noted that corporations doling out tens of millions in payoffs were also receiving federal grants from agencies which employed the individuals who they were bribing, creating a massive conflict of interest.

“The idea that people get a financial benefit from certain research that’s been done and grants that were awarded, that is, to me, the height of the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Moolenaar said.

“I certainly can understand that it might seem as a conflict of interest,” Tabak responded, but noted that this sort of kickback scheme is technically legal so it is okay.

A transparency watchdog group, Open the Books filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in Sept. 2021 that uncovered the corruption.

“In September 2021, OpenTheBooks.com filed FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests with NIH asking for a complete list/database of all personal royalties paid to current and former National Institutes of Health employees for work done while they were federally employed,” the organization stated.

“NIH failed to comply with this request, so we partnered with Judicial Watch to sue for these documents in October 2021,” they added. They were eventually able to get the feds to comply with their request but with caveats.

Open the Books said that “the documents we have received so far have been heavily redacted, only revealing most (but not all) of the names of the researchers receiving payments, how many payments they received, and how much money each NIH institute has collected in royalties.”

Dr. Fauci has received 23 payments of an undisclosed amount. Fauci’s agency, the NIAID, has received $9.3 million with many of Fauci’s associates in the bureaucracy also receiving payments. This is how they are rewarded for promoting Draconian mandates to enrich Big Pharma while crushing the civil liberties of ordinary Americans.

“21 of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers reported royalty income, along with the FDA…. Four institutes reported income that was redacted,” Open the Books said, adding that they have calculated at least $134 in slush money payments doled out to federal technocrats.

The feds are in bed with the entities that they are supposed to be regulating and keeping from harming the public. This is not news, but the extent of the avarice is nevertheless jawdropping.