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Brenda Fitzgerald resigned from her position as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday, January 31th, following a report that she bought shares in a tobacco company shortly after joining the agency last year.

According to Politico, Fitzgerald purchased stock in Japan Tobacco, a cigarette manufacturer, one month into her tenure as head of the public health agency. The CDC website declares smoking to be the leading cause of preventable death worldwide.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesman Matt Lloyd issued a statement saying, “Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC Director.”

Fitzgerald previously served as commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Public Health from 2011 to 2017. Fitzgerald was appointed as head of the CDC in July of 2017 by then-HHS Secretary Tom Price, who himself resigned in the fallout of a Politico report detailing his use of private jets.

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