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WASHINGTON — Emily Hargan, who is married to Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, has been lobbying the agency for roughly one month on behalf of health care clients, including Nostrum Pharmaceuticals, the blood glucose monitor company Smart Meter, and TL Management, which runs a chain of nursing homes.

Eric Hargan, whose role as the second-in-command at the agency gives him power to weigh in on a host of issues that affect those companies, from drug pricing to nursing home oversight to the federal government’s pandemic response efforts, has since recused himself from all matters on which his wife lobbied HHS, a spokesperson told STAT.


But Emily Hargan’s lobbying work, which was disclosed this week in reports required by federal law, still raises serious questions about Eric Hargan’s impartiality, and about whether Emily Hargan’s clients might have an unfair advantage at the agency, even if Eric Hargan didn’t directly oversee the work, according to Richard Painter, who served as the White House’s top ethics lawyer under George W. Bush and has become an outspoken critic of the Trump administration.

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