February 10, 2022

Did Biden’s Top Science Adviser Engage in Insider Trading?

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Biden’s top science adviser, Eric Lander, publicly promoted the COVID-19 vaccine while holding a significant number of shares in BioNTech SE, Pfizer’s vaccine partner.

Lander, who resigned on Monday amid accusations that he’d bullied and demeaned his staff, had 90 days to sell his stocks following his Senate confirmation on May 28. He divested most of his holdings in June, but he waited until Aug. 5 to sell the remaining $500,000 to $1 million worth of BioNTech stock.

When the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) ultimately sold his shares 69 days after his confirmation, the company was at its second-highest stock price ever at $404.92 — more than $50 more than two days earlier.

In the weeks leading up to that Aug. 5 transaction, Lander promoted the Biden administration’s vaccination efforts.

  • June 29
    “And we need to keep up the pressure to truly defeat the pandemic by ensuring that everyone is vaccinated,” Lander wrote in an article for the Boston Globe. “You can do your part by respectfully reaching out to people you know who haven’t yet been vaccinated.”
  • Aug. 4
    “Coronavirus vaccines can end the current pandemic if enough people choose to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated,” Lander wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Post.

Lander did not disclose his stock holdings in either op-ed. But an OSTP spokesperson dismissed the notion that Lander had done anything wrong.

“Eric was fully legally compliant,” the spokesperson said. “The law is clear – and conversations and opinion pieces telling people they should get vaccinated during a global pandemic are not even close to an ethics concern.”

During the 90 day period following his Senate confirmation, Lander agreed he would “not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that to my knowledge has a direct and predictable effect on the financial interests of the entity until I have divested it, unless I first obtain a written waiver […] or qualify for a regulatory exemption.”

Watchdog groups view the situation as ethically dubious.

“I don’t think you have the most senior scientist in the administration during a pandemic invested in a certain vaccine maker. It looks like something he should have divested immediately,” Marsco.

Jeff Hauser, the founder of the watchdog Revolving Door Project, also weighed in on Lander’s transactions.

“From a common sense perspective, there’s a conflict of interest that raises questions needlessly,” Hauser said.

“This is probably legal in the kind of way that underscores why, just as with Congress, executive branch officials should be forced to wholly liquidate non-broadly held funds before taking office.”


Lander held on to vaccine maker stock months into tenure

6 comments on Did Biden’s Top Science Adviser Engage in Insider Trading?

  1. Blaine says:

    How does this differ from Martha Stewart being sent to prison. for her trading? This guy should should be investigated, charged and tried to the highest degree possible. I used to think about the corruption that went on by dictators in foreign countries, but now it is rampant in our once great country; wide out in the open and not as much as a slap on the wrist. No wonder people want to get into politics. They can get rich doing nothing.

    1. Chief Wahoo says:

      The U.S. has become a third world country. The current administration encourages corruption to dissolve this nation as fast as possible.

      1. ChukYooFarly says:

        @Chief Wahoo: That’s the truth. My city, which has always had low crime and managed to hold its own, has turned into a crime-infested, waste land. Jobs left and the illegal, 3rd world trash has moved in. I’m afraid to leave my house and afraid to stay home.

    2. Ralph E Wall Sr says:


      1. ChukYooFarly says:

        @ Ralph E Wall Sr: ????????

  2. David in MA says:

    The democrats, and RINO’s, time has become short, and their rewards will come soon, very soon. IMO.

Comments are closed.

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