Thomas R. Frieden M.D., M.P.H.
Director Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30333
Dear Dr. Frieden:
I'm responding to a letter you sent last week to my Congressman, Rob Woodall (GA, 7th District).
Your letter was in reply to a May 9, 2012 inquiry sent on my behalf by Rep. Woodall's office to CDC Chief Operating Officer Sheri Berger. That inquiry asked Ms. Berger to verify whether or not CDC employee Douglas R. Browne signed six sworn AG990-IL financial reports filed with the Illinois Attorney General's Charitable Trust Bureau by the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), a Chicago-area nonprofit.
I asked Congressman Woodall's office to help me obtain the information because there are serious legal matters regarding the reports that I wish to bring to the attention of federal and Illinois state officials.
In your May 21, 2012 reply, you wrote to Congressman Woodall:
Mr. Browne reviewed the documents and verified that they look familiar to him, and that the signature on page six of the documents, dated December 30, 2005, appears to be his writing. Mr. Browne cannot confirm with certainty that he signed the other pages, because he's unable to verify the signatures.
All due respect, I believe a more definitive response is required.
As you may be aware, in recent years SALF has been the subject of scores of critical media reports. For example, from a November 2006 ABC7 Chicago expose:
One of Illinois' highest profile charities teaches the Heimlich maneuver to children while maneuvering the truth to get money from government and big business.
It's called the Save-A-Life Foundation and is known across Illinois as an organization that teaches schoolchildren how to respond in emergencies. For the past few years, Save-A-Life has received millions of dollars in government funds and corporate donations. An ABC7 I-Team investigation has uncovered a series of misleading claims and deceptive credentials that raise doubts about Save-A-Life's integrity, funding and training.According to the Department of Health and Human Services, $3,335,578 of those funds were awarded to SALF by your agency.
In a November 10, 2010 reply to a complaint of misconduct filed with the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, that office responded:
In your letter, you allege potential misconduct on the part of Douglas Browne, an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically you state that CDC may have improperly approved Browne's outside activities with the Save-A-Life-Foundation, and that Browne may have exceeded the scope of the approval which he received from CDC management.
...HHS/OIG/OI/SIB has referred this matter to CDC for further review, and appropriate administrative action as this matter appears to be more appropriately addressed through CDC's administrative review process.According to a numerous records (embedded below this paragraph), Mr. Browne served on SALF's Executive Board as the organization's Treasurer. According to the six AG990-IL reports, he appears to have started the job on January 1, 2003 although tax returns filed by SALF with the Internal Revenue Service indicate he started on January 1, 2004. According to the minutes of a January 26, 2007 meeting of SALF's board, he was voted a $40,000 salary and retirement plan. Apparently his job ended on September 17, 2009 when, after a vote by the corporation's directors - presumably including Mr. Browne - SALF filed Articles of Dissolution with the Illinois Secretary of State.
Regarding Mr. Browne's memory lapse about whether or not he signed the six AG990-IL reports, your letter didn't indicate if you asked him to produce copies. Since he was the organization's Treasurer, he presumably retained those. If not, he can certainly request unredacted copies from the Illinois Attorney General's office, from other former SALF executives, and from the Certified Public Accountants who co-signed the six reports.
Undoubtedly you share my interest in bringing any potential legal concerns to the attention of governmental oversight agencies. Therefore, would you please ask Mr. Browne to provide you with definite answers as to which if any of the six reports he signed and that you provide me with that information?
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your reply so that I may know how to proceed.
(street address redacted)
Duluth, GA 30096
blog: The Sidebar
The Hon. Rob Woodall, US House of Representatives % Chase Murray
Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
Sherri Berger, Chief Operating Officer, CDC
The Hon. Tim Bivins, IL State Legislature
Brent Stratton, Chief Deputy IL Attorney General
my 5/29/12 inquiry to CDC Director Thomas Frieden re: whether CDC employee Douglas R. Browne signed six swo...