Watchdog group exposes close ties of two Biden officials with two nonprofits receiving $790 million in taxpayer funds

President Joe Biden’s White House likes to proclaim itself to be the most ethical and transparent in American history, but those claims don’t hold up under scrutiny and evidence of potential corruption and serious conflicts of interest.

A federal watchdog group just identified two foreign nonprofit organizations with close ties to senior officials in the Biden administration that will collectively receive nearly $800 million in taxpayer funding, the Washington Examiner reported.

The funding for the two organizations was announced publicly by the White House within the past month, but the links to senior officials who used to work directly for those nonprofit groups were not voluntarily disclosed to the American people.

What a coincidence

According to a White House “fact sheet” on March 28 about President Biden’s proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget, $500 million over five years would be provided to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a Norway-based group that works to “support innovating science and technological capabilities to shorten the cycle for development of safe, effective, and affordable vaccines.”

That funding will flow from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which happens to be an official named Dawn O’Connell, according to a March 2021 announcement from the White House.

That announcement last year highlighted the fact that, just prior to joining the Biden administration, O’Connell was the director of the U.S. office for CEPI for four years, where she managed the group’s relationships with various governmental agencies and departments.

For what it is worth, the White House told the Examiner that O’Connell had nothing to do with the decision to provide taxpayer funding to CEPI and was recused from all matters relating to her former employer.

So much for Biden’s “revolving door ban” on lobbyists

A separate “fact sheet” from the White House on April 7 revealed that President Biden’s FY 2023 budget would include $290 million for Switzerland-based Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, “to reach children with cost-effective vaccines to accelerate progress towards preventing child deaths.”

The funding would come from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Left unmentioned is the fact that USAID’s deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau of Global Health is Natasha Bilimoria, who just so happened to serve as director of U.S. strategy for Gavi prior to joining the Biden administration, a position in which she directly lobbied Congress in late 2020 for $4 billion in taxpayer funding for the nonprofit.

It was noted by the Examiner that USAID has already issued a limited waiver for Bilimoria to dodge the supposedly strict “revolving door ban” imposed by Biden and allow the senior official to work directly with her former employer on matters pertaining to COVID-19, though she is purportedly barred from any interactions on non-COVID-related matters.

Where is the outrage that lesser conflicts of interest once drew?

These two apparent conflicts of interest were first raised as points of concern by a federal watchdog group known as Protect the Public’s Trust, and Director Michael Chamberlain said in a statement, “The Gavi/Bilimoria and CEPI/O’Connell fact patterns are the exact types of scenarios that gave rise to four-alarm fires in the previous administration.”

“But, in this case, they appear to have been met with mild applause by supporters and crickets among good government groups that were once laser-focused on even the most tangential threads that could create a potential conflict of interest,” he added. “The double-standard that exists is a major reason for the American public’s lack of trust in its government.”

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