On Christmas Eve, Dr. Anthony Fauci turned 81. However, he is not retiring just yet. If he did, Fauci would reap the largest federal retirement package in U.S. history.
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com estimate Dr. Fauci’s annual retirement would exceed $350,000. Thereafter, his pension and benefits would continue to increase through annual cost-of-living adjustments. Fauci has 55 years of service as a federal employee.
For the second year in a row, Fauci was the most highly compensated federal employee and out earned the president, four star generals, and roughly 4.3 million of his colleagues. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Fauci earned $434,312 in 2020, the latest year available, up from $417,608 in 2019.
Fauci is currently the Chief Medical Advisor to the President. However, his big salary boost came in 2004 under the George W. Bush Administration (as we reported earlier at Forbes) when Fauci received a “permanent pay adjustment” for his biodefense work. In January 2000, Fauci was also appointed to the Ready Reserve Corps, a corps of “officers on full-time extended active duty.”
$340,000-$350,000 each year in federal retirement payments
Federal employees with Fauci’s length of service can retire to earn “80 percent of [their] high-3 average salary, plus credit for [their] sick leave,” according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
In November, we filed a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to determine Dr. Fauci’s currently unpublished 2021 salary, job description, royalties, conflict of interest and financial disclosures, and employment contract. The case moved quickly and the federal judge ordered production starting on February 1, 2022.
So, at this point, we can use only the last three published years of his salary — 2018: $399,625; 2019: $417,608; and 2020: $434,312 — to calculate his potential retirement earnings.
Dr. Fauci earned a total of $1.252 million from 2018-2020 in salary as a federal employee.
If he’d left federal service at the end of FY2020, figuring 80% of his highest three-year average, would mean a federal pension of $333,745 a year, plus cost-of-living increases (($1,251,545/3) x 80% = $333,745).
However, Fauci’s unpublished FY2021 and FY2022 salaries are likely commensurate, if not higher than his 2020 salary. Therefore, his retirement pay would be closer to $347,500 a year. (($1,302,936/3) x 80%).
(We requested both Dr. Fauci’s FY2021 and FY2022 salaries — fiscal years that start on October 1 respectively. We will update the column if NIH responds to our comment request.)
Additionally, Dr. Fauci is likely eligible for an annuity, paid out by the federal government. After serving 10 years, federal employees are eligible for “2 percent of [their] high-3 average salary for each year.” Dr. Fauci has more than surpassed the 10-year-minimum work requirement, and if he retired last year he could have drawn down at least an extra $8,344 a year (($1,251,545/3) x 2% = $8,344). If he leaves at the end of this month, that figure is likely closer to $8,575 a year in annuity payments, assuming his salary did not go down in 2021.
While federal benefit calculations are lucrative for someone in Fauci’s long-serving role, there is a potential twist…
Dr. Fauci was appointed in 2000 to the Ready Reserve Corps. The U.S. Code contains some different retirement calculations for Corps officers. Corps officers’ retirement pay involves calculating the top 36 months (vs. CSRS’s top 3 years), which may or may not make a difference, assuming Fauci’s long service and service credits as a federal employee qualify him for retirement under this system.
After passage of the Affordable Care Act, and subsequent authorizing provisions in the CARES Act, the Reserve Corps was folded into today’s Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service “Ready Reserve Corps,” in which Fauci presumably continues to serve. Its group of reserve officers serving in other roles are subject to intermittent involuntary deployment (“call up”) to bolster the available workforce for public health emergency missions.
But…Fauci has no plans to retire