The top public health official in the Trump Administration announced her resignation today (Jan. 31). Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, head of the Centers for Disease Control, resigned amid reports that she bought and sold Stocks in tobacco just one month after being named to the post. She is the latest to leave the administration in what has amounted to a string of departures since the president took office just over a year ago. A report by Delaware Online confirmed the resignation.

Clear conflict of interest

Fitzgerald was named the director of the Centers for Disease Control under the Trump Administration in July 2017.

The former Georgia Department of Health Commissioner and physician reportedly bought stock in Japan Tobacco soon after, per documents, Politico obtained yesterday (Jan. 30). As tobacco is, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the leading cause of preventable death, this is clearly a conflict of interest in which the agency's director was participating. Fitzgerald turned in her resignation to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar this morning, according to HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd.Lloyd cited Fitzgerald's "complex financial interests" in the reasons for her resignation.

At the time of the Japan Tobacco stock purchase in August, officials in public health positions criticized Fitzgerald, noting that such a purchase went directly against the stated mission of the Centers for Disease Control and one of Fitzgerald's own championed causes.

After receiving harsh rebuke, Fitzgerald sold her stock in Japan Tobacco at the end of October. Many experts in the public health realm felt that this divestiture was not timely enough.

Other questionable stocks owned by Fitzgerald

Politico also discovered in financial disclosure documents that Fitzgerald had made many other questionable stock purchases during her tenure as Centers for Disease Control director.

These include pharmaceutical companies Merck & Company and Bayer as well as health insurance giant Humana. A conflict of interest argument against Fitzgerald could have been made against any and all of these stock transactions.

Owning stock in tobacco companies apparently was not a new concept to Fitzgerald, either, as Politico also uncovered.

During her tenure as Georgia's Department of Health Commissioner, she owned shares in multiple tobacco companies, including Altria Group, Inc., Philip Morris International, Imperial Brands, British American Tobacco, and Reynolds American.

Questions still remain over whether or not Fitzgerald's stock trading in Japan Tobacco amounts to an illegal act.