Biden coronavirus advisor made millions advising private sector during pandemic

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Joe Biden’s Covid advisor made more than $2 million advising corporations on coronavirus safety measures during the pandemic.

Dr Vivek Murthy, who advised Mr Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign is now the White House nominee for surgeon general, was paid large fees to consult for Carnival Corporation’s cruise lines, Airbnb and other companies, according to the Washington Post.

He also picked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees, according to ethics documents filed earlier this month.

“We didn’t have a full window into how enmeshed he was in the selling-advice process,” Jeff Hauser, of the Revolving Door Project, which scrutinises executive branch appointees, told the newspaper.

“There are large questions in the minds of the public about the health and safety risks that might exist in areas like the cruise industry, and we want the surgeon general to give people completely impartial advice.”

Dr Murthy’s Senate appointment hearing is set to take place in Washington DC on Thursday.

He went through the process as Barack Obama’s nominee and was fired by Donald Trump during the previous administration.

Dr Murthy is likely to need all 50 Democratic votes in the Senate, with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia so far committed to voting for Mr Biden’s nominee.

His financial disclosures state that Dr Murthy earned at least $2.6 million in consulting fees and engagements since January 2020, and advised four companies that focus on health services and products.

Carnival Corporation paid his $400,000 during the outbreak, while Airbnb paid him $410,000 in cash and gave him stock now worth more than $400,000.

He also received $292,500 to advise cosmetics giant Estée Lauder on mental health practices during the pandemic.

Netflix paid him more than $600,000 to advise them on whether it was safe for their TV and movie productions to resume.

Dr Murthy also was paid at least $522,650 to give more than 30 speeches to a variety of audiences, including Google, UBS Financial Services, hospitals and health insurance companies.

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