Las Vegas Sun

January 31, 2023

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Reid asks GAO to investigate whether CDC lied to Congress

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrote the investigative agency last week asking it to look into the controversy over whether the Atlanta-based CDC used money earmarked for the mysterious disease on unrelated activities and then lied to Congress about it.

The controversy erupted last summer when Dr. William C. Reeves, the CDC's top researcher into chronic disease syndrome filed a whistle blower complaint accusing the agency of intentionally misrepresenting the amount of money spent on chronic fatigue research.

Reeves contends in the complaint that from fiscal 1995 through fiscal 1997, some $5.8 million that the CDC told Congress had been spent on chronic fatigue syndrome research actually went to other activities.

"Dr. Reeves' allegations are very serious," Reid said in a statement. "My intent is to ensure that CDC is spending its funds as Congress intends."

CDC officials said previously that they take Reeves' allegations "very seriously" and have asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate.

Reid also asked the GAO to determine if the CDC has engaged in a good faith and high quality chronic fatigue syndrome research program. Critics of the agency have maintained for years that federal health officials don't take the disease seriously.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating condition in which people become so tired that they cannot function. It is hard to diagnose because it mimics diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Lyme disease, and doctors do not know what causes it.

First identified in Nevada in 1985, the disease now afflicts as many as 500,000 Americans, according to the latest CDC estimates.