Dr. Richard Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, testifies before the House of Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee in Washington, DC on May 14, 2020.
Shawn Thew | POOL | AFP | Getty Images
Rick Bright, the Trump administration's vaccine expert, became a whistleblower and resigned from the federal government on Tuesday. This emerges from a press release from his lawyer.
Bright, who headed the powerful agency for advanced biomedical research and development, was abruptly transferred to a lesser position at the National Institutes of Health in April. Bright has claimed he was moved after raising concerns about the Trump administration's response to Covid-19 and nepotism at the Department of Health and Human Services. In May, he filed a formal whistleblower complaint against his former employer.
In an amended whistleblower complaint filed on Tuesday, Bright said he has only received one assignment since being assigned to the NIH, which is now complete.
"Dr. Bright has not been assigned any meaningful work since September 4, 2020 when he received the one assignment at the NIH," the complaint read. "He's been inactive for weeks … The federal government pays Dr. Bright, a leading pandemic preparation and response expert and an internationally recognized expert in vaccine and diagnostic development, to sit on his hands during a global pandemic has killed a million people worldwide and over 210,000 people in the United States to date. "
Bright also said in the new complaint that he had asked to work specifically on Operation Warp Speed's vaccine and therapy work. He claims he was not given additional assignments because of political grudges.
This lack of work, Bright argues in the new complaint, constitutes "constructive relief" from the government, a term used to describe when an employer makes a job so hostile that it forces the worker to quit .
It is unclear whether Bright's latest allegation will affect his pending government case.
The Office of Special Counsel, which investigates whistleblower complaints, has recommended that Bright be reinstated in his old job at BARDA pending a full investigation into his complaint, but HHS has ignored that recommendation. It is not clear when the full investigation will be completed.