EXCLUSIVE: Former FDA Official Violated Ethics Rules By Soliciting Gifts From Activists, Watchdog Alleges

EXCLUSIVE: Former FDA Official Violated Ethics Rules By Soliciting Gifts From Activists, Watchdog Alleges

  • June 4, 2024

Robert Schmad, Daily Caller 

A former senior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official unethically solicited gifts while serving in government, according to a complaint filed by a watchdog group Tuesday.

Protect the Public’s Trust’s (PPT) complaint highlights emails showing that Kathy Crosby, who served in a high-level communications role at the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, accepted free gala tickets worth hundreds of dollars from an anti-tobacco group after inquiring about the event. PPT alleged that this amounts to an “apparent violation of federal employee gift regulations” and warrants an investigation from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) offered Crosby free tickets to its 2022 gala in April 2022, emails show. Crosby declined to attend that year, citing her schedule, but asked the organization to “keep [her] in mind for next year’s event.”

About a year later, Crosby responded to the same email thread asking CTFK if it would be “extending an invitation to any FDA colleagues to attend” its 2023 gala. The organization subsequently offered Crosby complimentary tickets, which she then accepted, saying that she “should definitely be able to join” them that year.

PPT notes in its complaint, however, that the FDA did not address the solicitation of the tickets in its response to the DCNF.

PPT claims that Crosby may have failed to notify ethics officials that she had solicited the tickets prior to accepting them.

“Crosby’s solicitation of an invitation suggests an intention to leverage her official position to avoid paying for a gala ticket, rather than attending the event in a manner consistent with ethical standards,” the complaint reads. “Whether FDA ethics officials approved her attendance at the gala, they very likely did so without access to all material facts. In such circumstances when ethics approval is provided without all material information being provided, no safe harbor is available and a violation of pertinent regulations must be found.”

Read more