Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Richard Carmona draws fire from former boss - John Bresnahan and Manu Raju -

Richard Carmona draws fire from former boss

5/21/12 4:52 AM EDT

Richard Carmona, the former U.S. surgeon general now running as a Democrat in Arizona for a Senate seat, made national headlines in 2007 when he told Congress that the Bush administration had improperly interfered in public health decisions for purely political reasons.

But behind the scenes, his former boss Cristina Beato — a onetime supporter turned bitter enemy — was painting a very different picture of Carmona for House investigators, alleging that an angry Carmona twice banged on her door and yelled at her in the middle of the night after workplace disputes.

Beato gave her testimony in secret in 2007, saying Carmona was an “extremely angry” person, a “living nightmare” to work with, had trouble working for a female supervisor and abused travel privileges by improperly billing taxpayers for some personal expenses, according to the testimony. When POLITICO contacted Beato recently, she confirmed her testimony and reiterated her accusations on the record, five years after she originally gave them to the House committee.

Beato’s allegations — which the Carmona campaign vehemently denies — highlights an intense past rivalry between two top health officials from the Bush administration and are coming to light anew as Carmona seeks the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona.

And what’s clear from a previously unreleased House Oversight and Government Reform Committee document obtained by POLITICO is that Beato, a former top official at Health and Human Services, and Carmona, as surgeon general, clashed for years over some of the most fundamental issues in public health.

Yet it went deeper than that and got very personal.

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