Wisconsin Boy Gone Bad, Blocks Health Report for Not Being ‘Political’

William R. Steiger, son of the late Wisconsin Congressman William A. Steiger (1967- 1978) and advisor to former Gov and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, is skewered in a page one today as a political hack.

“A specialist in education and a scholar of Latin American history whose family has long ties to and . Since 2001, Steiger has run the Office of Global Health Affairs in the ,” reads the piece.

But like just about everything and everybody the hyper-political, anti-science Bush administration touches, Steiger was reduced to a political ward boss in service to the George W. Bush, censoring a public health report for not being political and for not extolling the virtues of George W. Bush.

Some highlights from the piece by Christopher Lee and Marc Kaufman:

, who commissioned the "Call to Action on Global Health" while serving as surgeon general from 2002 to 2006, recently cited its suppression as an example of the Bush administration's frequent efforts during his tenure to give scientific documents a political twist. At a July 10 House committee hearing, Carmona did not cite Steiger by name or detail the report's contents and its implications for American public health. …

Carmona told lawmakers that, as he fought to release the document, he was "called in and again admonished . . . via a senior official who said, 'You don't get it.' " He said a senior official told him that "this will be a political document, or it will not be released."

After a long struggle that pitted top scientific and medical experts inside and outside the government against Steiger and his political bosses, Carmona refused to make the requested changes, according to the officials. Carmona engaged in similar fights over other public health reports, including an unpublished report on prison health. A few days before the end of his term as the nation's senior medical officer, he was abruptly told he would not be reappointed.

Richard Walling, a former career official in the HHS global health office who oversaw the draft, said Steiger was the official who blocked its release. "Steiger always had his political hat on," he said. "I don't think public health was what his vision was. As far as the international office was concerned, it was a political office of the secretary. . . . What he was looking for, and in general what he was always looking for, was, 'How do we promote the policies and the programs of the administration?' This report didn't focus on that." …

Public health advocates have accused Steiger of political meddling before. He briefly attained notoriety in 2004 by demanding changes in the language of an international report on obesity. The report was opposed by some U.S. food manufacturers and the sugar industry.

“(Steiger) is now awaiting a Senate vote on his nomination as Bush's ambassador to ,” reads the Post.


July 29, 2007 - 7:04am