By Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com

Trump Intends to Nominate an Assistant U.S. Attorney to be HHS Inspector General 

The acting HHS watchdog recently came under fire for a report on medical equipment shortages during the pandemic. 

On Friday night, President Trump announced his intent to nominate an assistant U.S. attorney to be inspector general for the Health and Human Services Department. 

The intended nominee, Jason Weida, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston since 2016.  HHS, which is at the center of the federal government’s response to the novel coronavirus, has not had a permanent IG for almost a year. HHS Principal Deputy IG Christi Grimm, who has been running the office since January, yet has worked for the office since 1999, recently came under fire from the president for the office’s report on the vast shortages of medical equipment and supplies during the pandemic at hospitals nationwide. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Grimm will remain principal deputy IG.

Weida served as counsel in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy on detail from April to September 2019. Before his work at the Justice Department, he was a litigation associate at the law firms Jones Day and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. “Weida maintained an active docket of pro bono cases, for which his office received the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Certificate of Recognition for Pro Bono Service,” according to the White House. “He has overseen numerous complex investigations in health care and other sectors.” 

He also clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Supreme Court. Weida received a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Connecticut. 

If confirmed, Weida would be leading the largest federal IG office, which is overseeing the department currently getting scrutinized for its “early missteps” in responding to the pandemic, as The Wall Street Journal reported on April 22. Another watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, reported on April 23 that HHS has 55 priority open recommendations as of April, involving improved oversight of public health programs, information security, the Indian Health Service, and Medicare’s policy and design. Some of them date back to previous presidential administrations. 

Recently, several lawmakers made requests for HHS IG investigations. On April 29, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and the committee's Democrats asked for a review of the ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic health care disparities “further expose[d]” by the coronavirus outbreak. Also, on April 23, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, asked for a review of Dr. Rick Bright’s reassignment from being director of the agency that is central to vaccine development. Bright blamed political interference for his ouster because he questioned the merits of a drug the president has championed as a possible coronavirus treatment. 

During the pandemic there has been an increased focus on inspectors general because of their role in overseeing the government’s spending of trillions of economic relief dollars and response efforts, the president attacking the credibility of various IGs and recent high-profile IG firings. 

Following the president railing against Grimm during a briefing on April 6 after reporters asked about her office’s report, Pallone Jr. and Rep. Diana DeGette., D-Colo., called on the HHS secretary to protect the HHS inspector general’s independence. Also, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, and Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., introduced the “2020 Inspectors General Independence Act," which would establish seven-year terms for IGs and only allow “for cause” removals in order to prevent politically motivated firings. 

The Blue Dog Coalition, composed of 26  “fiscally-responsible” Democrats, announced it endorsed Murphy and Cooper’s legislation on Friday. On a call with reporters on Monday, members spoke about the increased need for inspectors general and their protection during this time. “There’s literally trillions of dollars at stake and the lives and livelihoods of many hard-working Americans, so these ought to be the most closely monitored tax dollars in history,” said Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform. 

Cooper, a Blue Dog member, stated the legislation is a “long overdue” reform as many presidents have shown opposition to IGs. 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.