Bush’s AIDS Czar and the DC Madam

Excerpt from: "Relief Disaster," by Joshua Kurlantzick, Mother JonesSeptember/October 2008 Issue:

"... To run his AIDS initiative, Bush tapped former Eli Lilly CEO Randall Tobias, who turned out to be oblivious to his own staff's on-the-ground experience. 'We'd be at meetings, go around the table, and someone would mention, "I've just been in Ghana," and Tobias would say, "Yes, next," the USAID staffer recalls. "He didn't care." ...'"

Tobias' team generally didn't even bother asking recipient nations what they needed from the United States. In any case, Tobias' reign at USAID was cut short by his abrupt resignation in April 2007—it turned out the man who'd been promoting abstinence around the globe was a client of the infamous DC Madam. ...



On the occasion of his appointment in 2003 ...

From: Bush to Name Ex-Lilly CEO to Run AIDS Fund

... Tobias's biography suggests little direct experience working on AIDS in developing nations but extensive experience with pharmaceuticals and corporations. He retired from Lilly in 1998 after six years at the drug manufacturer, one of the nation's largest, which is based in his native Indiana. Before that, he worked at AT&T, becoming, in 1981, the youngest senior executive in the company's history and, eventually, its vice chairman.

He and Lilly have been major donors to the Republican Party. He gave $4,000 to Bush from 1999 to 2001, and he and his wife donated a total of $37,000 to the GOP and its state elections committee during that period. Lilly, meanwhile, gave another $23,000 to Bush's campaign in 2000 and spent $234,000 on direct mail to its stockholders on Bush's behalf, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

More recently, he has endorsed another former senior Lilly executive, the White House's recently departed budget director, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., for governor of Indiana, and is scheduled to host a $5,000-per-person dinner for him this month.

The first word of Tobias's appointment brought both praise and skepticism from organizations that are trying to bring better treatment to HIV-infected people in poor countries. ...

"It seems to be a great day for American drug companies," said Denise Hughes, media director of Results, a Washington-based organization that advocates use of generic versions of antiretroviral drugs in poor countries." ...


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