Like most Americans, the first thing I do in the morning is to reach for my cell phone. In my business, when I am getting up, three hours of life has already occurred in other places in the country, requiring a catch-up. Yesterday morning, however, I was surprised to see a LinkedIn request from a “Jason McDonald” from the CDC. On Friday morning, my piece regarding the CDC Director’s Husband receiving a 16.9 million dollar grant from the HHS was published, so I was only slightly surprised that he was sniffing around. Little did I know, that he had also reached out to the source of the article, syndicated radio talk show host, Howie Carr.
Howie had me on his show on Friday to discuss the article, which is clearly independently sourced with every contention made. The story was number one RedState Friday and was retweeted over 10,000 times on Twitter.
On Friday, after the article was published, we were notified that Loren Walensky had divested himself of his one million shares in Lytica, even though he still appears on Lytica’s website as involved with the company.
Additionally, in January, Loren Walensky’s holdings of Lytica were valued between $250,000 and $500,000. What was the value of that same stock before the infusion of $5.3 million of taxpayer funds? How much money did the Walensky’s make from their short but extremely influential connection to the company? What was the final amount Walensky received from his divestiture? Despite strict reporting requirements, none of this is known publicly at this time.
As a result of its far reach, Jason McDonald had questions for Howie as to how the story made the air.
McDonald, who has a LinkedIn Page that lists him as a Public Affairs Specialist with the CDC, initially submitted a request to contact The Howie Carr Show, which was responded to by one of the show’s staff members. McDonald stated that he “would like to discuss the dubious tip Howie Carr gave Scott Hounsell at RedState.”
The issue this author takes with a particular request is McDonald’s use of “dubious” in discussing the article written. The use of that word suggests there’s doubt in the contents of the article, however, we were insistent on independently sourcing anything that made it to publishing. While McDonald may not like the reporting we did, the facts surrounding this grant are clear.
When the staffer asked “what about it?”, McDonald responded the following:
Do you not check these things out before you allow someone to get on your air?
Did Scott get the tip wrong?
A little extra digging and you would have found this was all smoke and no fire.
McDonald did not question any of the factual elements of the story, rather, he just wanted to know how it made the air. Additionally, if he was acting with any sort of information, he’d know that I didn’t get the tip wrong. Again, everything stated in the story is independently sourced with links to those sources.
Throughout my weeks of reporting about the nefarious actions of the NIH, not once was I, or any of my sources, contacted by the NIH. This is completely out of the ordinary. The problem with smoke is that there is always fire. Things don’t give off smoke unless they have reached a temperature at which they are burning. At this point, we can add Mr. McDonald’s trousers to the list of things that are on fire. A little extra digging wouldn’t have merited any change from the fact that the CDC Director’s husband’s 4-month-old company got a multi-million dollar grant from the HHS and had cashed out of the company after this infusion of cash.
But as long as Jason had some questions for us, I decided to ask a few questions of my own. Here is my response to the CDC’s lapdog, sent yesterday:
If you’d like to answer questions on the record, I am more the willing to discuss the matter.
As a journalist, I am not required to disclose any of my sources, but as you’ll see from the piece, everything is linked and the story is 100%
Let’s start with a few questions of my own with a piece I am working on:
1) Why is a USFG employee looking at the private LinkedIn pages of journalists reporting on the private business dealings of their bosses? Is it standard operating procedure of the CDC to assign government employees to contact media sources for making factual and evidenced reports, regardless of how unfavorable it may be to their boss?
2) Were you instructed by any CDC leadership or anyone within Director Walensky’s office to make any contact with Howie Carr or RedState?
3) What, if anything, about the RedState report was factually incorrect? Was Loren Walensky a founder of Lytica? Was it founded in October 2019. Was the grant issued in February 2020? Did Director Walensky work within HHS in any capacity, during this time?
4) How much did Loren Walensky make from the sale of his million shares of Lytica? What was the valuation of the stock prior to the securing of the 16.9 million dollar grant? What was the valuation after the securing of the 16.9 million dollar grant? What other factors could have led to the increase of value if not the grant? What other multi million dollar grants has the HHS made to 4 month old companies?
5) Is Director Walensky aware of the party held June 11th with Harvard Students? Were the students required to provide vaccine documentation? Were masks required? If an “abundance of caution” is necessary, why would Loren Walensky not follow his own wife’s directive?
While you work on the answers to these questions, let it be known I am also FOIAing all office communications you have sent and received regarding this matter as well as any and all record regarding the HHS grant, so you may want to double check your answers for accuracy before you respond.
Also, I will be printing all communications you’ve sent Howie Carr and RedState as a portion of my continued reporting tomorrow morning, so responses to the above questions would be appreciated by 5pm today.
Thank you for your prompt attention.