CDC Official Blows the Whistle on Fiscal Misconduct;
Association Protests Cancellation of Youth Study
and Calls for Investigation.
From email@example.comFri Aug 14 01:05:29 1998
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 22:25:25 -0400
From: judy morris
Subject: CDC Official Blows the Whistle on Fiscal Misconduct; Association
THIS is cool! Could it be the tide is turning. Are people in government
finally having pangs of CONSCIENCE? For those of you that don't know
funds allocated to the CDC for research on CFS were mysteriously
evaporating. The CFS Association asked some pointed questions recently
about where the money went and it looks like it paid off.
Good going Kim Kenney, the CAA, and even you Dr. Reeves!
Mel Karasik wrote:
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
From: "THE CFIDS LIST", INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org
TO: (unknown), INTERNET:email@example.com
DATE: 8/13/98 3:17 PM
RE: ADVOCACY ALERT: CDC Official Blows the Whistle on Fiscal Misconduct;
Association Protests Cancellation of Youth Study and Calls for
To: C-ACT Members of The CFIDS Association of America
From: The CFIDS Association of America
Filing for protection under the Whistleblower's Act, Dr. William C.
Reeves, veteran scientist and civil servant at the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC), reported end-of-fiscal-year juggling that switched CFS
research funds into other programs. In his three-page statement, presented
July 22, 1998 to the U.S. Inspector General, Members of Congress and
Department of Health and Human Services overseers, Dr. Reeves told of a
meeting in which a CDC official stated that he "always used CFS funds to
make up for shortfalls elsewhere."
Before going public, Reeves tried to work through the system. Concerned
about discrepancies between his records and the figures reported to
Congress, Reeves wrote to his boss, Dr. Brian Mahy, that only $2,813,985
was spent by his research group on CFS studies in FY '97. Dr. Mahy replied
that he and Dr. Reeves "were at cross-purposes" and that "the figures I
gave you ... add up to $5,784,000. These are the only figures that will be
Weeks later, during an April 29, 1998 public meeting, Dr. Mahy publicly
asked Dr. Reeves to corroborate false statements about CDC's CFS research
program, as reported in the July/August Chronicle. Reeves blatantly refused
and soon after decided to make these irregularities public. Reeves
contacted Kim Kenney, executive director of The CFIDS Association of
America, to ask where he should take his complaint. She then arranged and
accompanied him to meetings with the appropriate government officials.
Dr. Reeves' statement is an important turning point in the six-year
search for accurate information about federal spending on CFS led by
The CFIDS Association of America.
The Whistleblower's Act is a federal law that protects civil servants from
retribution when they report governmental fraud, waste and abuse.
Further, Kim Kenney, Dr. Dedra Buchwald and Dr. Anthony Komaroff, all
members of the CFS Coordinating Committee, recently sent a letter to
Secretary for Health Dr. Donna Shalala protesting CDC's latest spending
impropriety, the refusal to release funds for a study on youth with CFIDS.
Please see the press release sent by separate e-mail and the Association's
web page (http://www.cfids.org) for more information. You may distribute
copies of this release to media outlets in your area. Also watch for the
September/October '98 issue of The CFIDS Chronicle for even more details on
What You Can Do:
We need your help!!
Our immediate goal is launching a thorough General Accounting Office (GAO)
inquiry into CDC's CFS program. Rep. John Porter has expressed interest in
asking for this audit. His support is crucial because, as the chairman of
the House committee in charge of health funding, his request will carry a
great deal of weight with the GAO.
Support from other members of Congress is critical in accelerating this
probe. Please write to your members of Congress and ask that they write a
letter to Rep. Porter supporting his inquiry into misuse of federal CFIDS
research funds. A sample letter is provided below.
As always, please send us a copy of your letters to Congress so we can
track the CFIDS community's response to this effort. The address is: The
CFIDS Association of America, PO Box 220398, Charlotte NC 28222-0398, Attn:
C-ACT. If you would prefer, copies may be sent by fax at 704/365-9755 or by
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your assistance!
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS:
Letters to Senators should be addressed:
The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator (last name):
Letters to members of the House of Representatives should be addressed:
The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative (last name):
Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for your members of Congress are
available by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 808/225-3121, and on many
websites, including http://www.congress.org. Please note that, while any
form of contact is appreciated, members of Congress seem to be less
influenced by e-mail than by personal letters or telephone calls.
SAMPLE LETTER (adapt this letter for your situation):
The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate [or United States House of Representatives]
Washington, DC 20510 [or 20515]
Dear Senator [or Representative] (last name):
Rep. John Porter has expressed interest in requesting the General
Accounting Office to launch an investigation into alleged misuse of chronic
fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) research funds at the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As a voter and taxpayer from [city] I am very concerned about this misuse
of taxpayer dollars. As one of at least 500,000 Americans with CFIDS, I am
angry that money that was intended and reported as having been used for
research into the disease from which I suffer has been diverted into other
programs. CDC researchers claim that they don't have enough money to do CFS
research because they receive only a third of what is reported to Congress
as directly supporting CFS research.
[Include a paragraph about your experience with CFIDS.]
Please write to Rep. Porter and tell him that you and your constituents
support a GAO investigation of this matter and appreciate his commitment to
discovering the truth about CFS funding at CDC.
123 Main St.
Anytown, US 11111
cc: The CFIDS Association of America
The CFIDS Association of America
Advocacy, Information, Research and Encouragement for the CFIDS Community
PO Box 220398, Charlotte NC 28222-0398
Voice Mail: 800/442-3437 Fax: 704/365-9755
WWW: http://www.cfids.org General E-mail: email@example.com
From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Aug 14 01:05:51 1998
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 22:28:27 -0400
From: judy morris
Subject: Dr. Reeves SPEECH
Mel Karasik wrote:
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
From: #cfids - The International CFIDS Support Channel,
TO: The CFIDS Channel, INTERNET:email@example.com
DATE: 8/13/98 5:46 PM
RE: #cfids -
MORE INFO ON THE CDC OFFICIAL BLOWS THE WHISTLE ON FISCAL MISCONDUCT
[Source: http://www.cfids.org ]
Report of Erroneous Information from CDC on CFS Research
I am Dr. William C. Reeves. I am Chief of the Viral Exanthems and
Herpesvirus Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National
Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I am directly responsible for CDC's chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) research
I believe CDC has provided erroneous information to Congress, DHHS and
patient groups concerning support of CFS research. I have attempted to
rectify this within CDC. I am noting for the record that my providing this
testimony is covered by the Whistle Blower Act, and I request protection
under the Act.
In 1997, The CFIDS Association of America and Dr. Arthur Lawrence (Office
of the Assistant Secretary for Health, DHHS) requested details concerning
CDC's 1996–1998 allocations for CFS. An appropriate was not received until
February 1998, and serious questions were immediately raised concerning the
veracity of the figures. I believe CDC's replies to these questions contain
CFS Research Support Fiscal Year 1996
CDC's reports to DHHS, Congress and the CFIDS Association of America state
that $1.2 million was used to support CFS laboratory studies in 1996.
Indeed, on the last day of FY [fiscal year] 96, $1.2 million of laboratory
equipment and supply costs incurred by the Measles and Polio Eradication
Programs were charged to CFS. When Ms. Kenney asked Dr. Brian Mahy
(Division Director and my immediate supervisor) to justify this at the
April 1998 DHHS CFS Coordinating Committee meeting, he told her the money
was used to support CFS laboratory research. He asked me to verify this,
and I stated that the 1996 CFS Research Program did not include a
laboratory effort. When Congressman Porter asked CDC to explain this
discrepancy, he was told that the 1996 CFS Research Program included
studies of enteroviruses, Borna disease virus and herpesviruses. When Dr.
[Claire] Broome (Acting Director of CDC) testified to Congress, she was
queried as to CFS expenses for supplies and equipment and stated that 1996
costs were significantly higher because CDC was investigating the potential
role of infectious agents in the etiology of CFS. She further stated that a
portion of the costs were used to establish a new laboratory in my Branch.
This information is not true. CDC's most recent publication concerning
laboratory studies of CFS was published in 1995. Actual laboratory work was
accomplished between 1993–94. This work involved testing performed in 12
different CDC laboratories and was done at no cost to the CFS program.
Analysis showed that there was no need to conduct similar laboratory
studies. Dr. Mahy, my Division Director, was well aware of this because he
conducts a detailed annual review of all programs. In addition, Dr. Mahy
held a peer review of the CFS program in August 1996, during which we
discussed laboratory studies and plans in detail. Finally, I informed Dr.
Mahy on at least two occasions during preparation of the requested budget
reports that no CFS laboratory work was conducted in 1996.
The $1.2 million that CDC falsely indicated was used to support CFS
laboratory research in 1996 only represents part of the misrepresentation
that fiscal year. Dr. Mahy's Division appears to have used an additional
$1.4 million of monies they reported as supporting CFS research in my
Branch for unrelated activities. These monies encompassed [approximately]
$600,000 to support staff elsewhere in the Division (this was in addition
to overhead staff shown in the materials given to Congress) and
[approximately] $900,000 for various contracts ($200,000 measles program
agreements with other agencies, $200,00 to the respiratory & Enterovirus
Branch for management and professional services; $228,000 epidemiology and
laboratory fellowships, $315,000 printing services contracts).
Unrelated projects have been charged as CFS in previous years. In 1995,
CDC reported [approximately] $6 million was used to support CFS research.
After overhead, about $4 million should have been available for program.
Again, on the last day of the fiscal year, Dr. Mahy's Division charged $2.6
million used in unrelated studies against CFS.
CFS Research Support Fiscal Year 1997
CDC's reports to DHHS, Congress and The CFIDS Association of America state
that my Branch used $3.4 million for CFS research during 1997. However, I
can only account for $2.8 million. At the end of FY 97, Dr. Mahy's
Division Administrator withdrew or withheld $340,000 to cover other
programs ($150,000 in orders for equipment, $20,000 in supplies for the
laboratory and $167,000 for personnel contracts). However, the withheld
monies were shown as CFS research costs in the reports. The withheld monies
represented about half of what was needed to fully establish a CFS
Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory (recommended during 1996 peer review and
suggested in FY 97 Congressional language). The withheld funds ($340,000)
had to be covered by the CFS Research Program from the FY 98 allocation.
As with 1996 expenses, this was not a simple accounting artifact or an
oversight due to lack of information. My Branch had worked throughout the
year to provide Dr. Mahy with accurate 1997 budget estimates. This
culminated on October 17, 1997, when Dr. Mahy asked me for a detailed
breakdown of CFS research expenditures. I noted that what we had actually
spent on CFS was significantly less than what CDC was planning to put
forward. He stated that "we were at cross purposes" and that the only
figures that would be given out were $3.4 million in direct research costs.
Indeed, my Branch's entire FY 97 research allocation was $1.7 million,
inclusive of CFS. On August 4, 1997, I met with Dr. Mahy's Administrative
Officer to clarify this. He told me, although they had received an
allocation of $4.2 million for CFS, that he could not pass the entire
allocation to the CFS Program because some branches had insufficient
budgets and Dr. Mahy had always made up such deficits with CFS and other
similar monies. I can provide the names of the five individuals who
attended this meeting.
CFS Research Support Fiscal Year 1998
An identical pattern is occurring in 1998. Dr. Broome reported to Congress
that CDC had allocated $5.8 million for CFS and that $3.4 million would
directly support research in my Branch. My entire Branch FY 98 allocation
from Dr. Mahy is $2.5 million and this must support research involving 32
FTS's [full-time equivalent staff members] in Papillomaviruses,
Herpesviruses and Poxviruses, in addition to CFS. I sent five memos to Dr.
Mahy's Administrative Officer over the last week to obtain clarification
and was finally told that he would drop by some time and discuss it with me.
In addition to these apparently intentional misrepresentations of CDC's
allocation for CFS research, I believe CDC has grossly misrepresented
overhead costs for Dr. Mahy's Division. During her testimony to Congress,
Dr. Broome stated that a Committee Management Specialist was required
full-time to support Dr. Mahy's duties as co-chair of the CFS Coordinating
Committee. In my opinion, this reply is insulting. The Committee has met
three times with Dr. Mahy as co-chair (May 1997, October 1997, April 1998).
The Committee Management Specialist in question (Renee Ross) was not
certified until July 1997 and left for another position at CDC before the
April 1998 Committee meeting. Her principal daily duties during 1997 and
1998 were to serve as Dr. Mahy's secretary. In addition, a separate
Committee Executive Secretary was responsible for many of the duties Dr.
Broome indicated for the Committee Management Specialist. Finally, as a
benchmark, CDC's CFS Research Program (for which I am responsible) charges
75% of a Secretary and 10% of a Program Analyst FTEs to CFS. In addition to
daily administration, they cover responses to approximately 450 direct
Summary & Conclusion
In summary, I believe that CDC has intentionally misrepresented monies
allocated to CFS research and I cannot ethically support this. The
misrepresentations involve systematically charging between $400,000 and $2
million incurred by unrelated activities to CFS between 1995–97 and
reporting to DHHS, Congress and patients that the monies were used for CFS
research. Previous administrators under Dr. Mahy could be interviewed to
explore this in more detail for years in which Congress specified a CFS
appropriation. The misrepresentations also involve charging inappropriate
Division overheads to CFS. The misrepresentations have been compounded by
intentionally ignoring technical information from Program concerning
expenses and knowingly transmitting inaccurate figures and information. I
am responsible for the CFS Research Program and cannot manage this
responsibility in an acceptable fashion unless CDC provides Program the
same support it tells the public is available.
From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Aug 25 00:06:18 1998
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 21:13:53 -0400
The plot thickens as to why there are no definite "tests" for Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome. Here's the AP report of the CDC whistleblower exposing
millions of dollars of misapproprated funds.
If you are having trouble wrapping your mind around the conspiracy threory
despite my extensive research and documentation, remember what Churchhill said:
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves
up and hurry off as if nothing had happened"
Sir Winston Churchill.
CDC accused of lying to Congress about chronic fatigue research
By DAVID PACE
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) _ After complaining for more than a decade that
federal health officials don't take chronic fatigue syndrome seriously,
activists for more research into the mysterious illness finally have what
they consider the "smoking gun."
In a whistle-blower complaint filed earlier this summer, the Center
for Disease Control and Prevention's top CFS researcher has accused the
agency of lying to Congress by spending money earmarked for the disease on
"I believe the CDC has intentionally misrepresented monies
allocated to CFS research and I cannot ethically support this," said Dr.
William C. Reeves, a branch chief in the CDC's National Center for
From fiscal 1995 through fiscal 1997, some $5.8 million that the
CDC told Congress had been spent on CFS research actually went to other
activities, Reeves said in a statement.
Reeves specifically accused Dr. Claire Broome, acting director of
the Atlanta-based CDC, of providing false information to Congress when she
testified that part of the money reported by the CDC in 1996 for CFS
research went to establish a new laboratory in the branch headed by Reeves.
"This evidence confirms the suspicions we've acted on for years,
that CDC was using CFS research money to float other programs," said
Kimberly Kinney, executive director of an association that advocates for
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the agency is aware of Reeves'
allegations and is taking them "very seriously." He said the CDC has asked
the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to
investigate, but he declined to address Reeves' specific charges.
For the past several years, Congress has included language in the
report on spending legislation for the CDC and other health agencies
directing that more money be spent on CFS research. Prior to fiscal 1996,
the House report called for the CDC to spend specific amounts on CFS
While report language does not carry the force of law, federal
agencies generally follow the recommendations because they do not want to
offend the lawmakers who control their budgets.
Rep. John Porter, R-Ill., chairman of the House appropriations
subcommittee that handles the CDC budget, is taking Reeves' allegations
"quite seriously" and may order an investigation by the General Accounting
Office, said Porter's press secretary, David Kohn.
"There would be repercussions if Mr. Porter felt that he and the
subcommittee were misled and the information provided was not accurate,"
CFS is a debilitating condition in which people become so tired
that they cannot function. It is hard to diagnose because it mimics
diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Lyme disease, and doctors do not
know what causes it. First identified in Nevada in 1985, the disease now
afflicts as many as 500,000 Americans, according to the latest CDC
John Friedlich of Cambridge, Mass., a CFS sufferer who has been an
advocate of increased federal research into the disease, said the
allegations are remarkable because of their source. "Reeves has not been
considered a friend of the (CFS) patients' community," Friedlich said. "For
him to come forward has caught a lot of people by surprise." Friedlich said
the predominant attitude among CDC scientists for years has been that CFS
"is not important, is not a real illness and they're not going to commit to
try to learn more about it."
Reeves filed his statement under the federal Whistle Blower Act,
which guarantees job protection for federal employees who report fraud,
waste or abuse. He is still working at the CDC, but is not granting
Email Judy Morris
at: judydoc AT the-spa DOT com
at: bhammel AT graham DOT main DOT nc DOT us
The URL for this document is:
Created: August 19, 1998
Last Updated: May 28, 2000