Senator Edward Kennedy has expanded his investigation about HHS officials pressuring the surgeon generals office to include questions involving similar behavior from political appointees toward scientists and researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last month, the powerful Massachusetts Democrat, who serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt asking for a long list of documents after former Surgeon General Richard Carmona testified about political pressure from the department when he served from 2002 to 2006.
Kennedy has followed his July correspondence with another letter to Leavitt that said the documents showed HHS officials sought to censor and suppress various projects of the surgeon general and promote the Bush administrations agenda.
These documents confirm that White House and HHS officials improperly sought to influence the activities of the surgeon general to achieve political goals, Kennedy wrote. The letter also said Kennedys office has uncovered information showing HHS officials engaged in similar conduct with regard to scientists and physicians at the NIH and CDC. Kennedy has asked HHS to send additional documentsconcerning the surgeon generals office, the NIH and the CDCto the Senate HELP committee by Sept. 13. -- by Jessica Zigmond
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