Investigators say whistleblower Rick Bright may have faced retaliation from Trump

Virus outbreak whistleblower
Rick Bright alleges he was removed from his job because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug favored by President Trump.
(Associated Press)

Federal investigators have found “reasonable grounds” that a government whistleblower was punished for opposing widespread use of an unproven drug that President Trump touted as a remedy for COVID-19, his lawyers said Friday.

Dr. Rick Bright headed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. He had received a job performance review of “outstanding” before he was summarily transferred last month. The agency is a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Investigators with the Office of Special Counsel “made a threshold determination that HHS violated the Whistleblower Protection Act by removing Dr. Bright from his position because he made protected disclosures in the best interest of the American public,” his lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement. The OSC is an agency that investigates whistleblower complaints.

The lawyers said investigators are requesting that HHS reinstate Bright.