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June 27, 2006 at 10:29 AM

Gates Foundation and accountability

Our story today on the efficiency of the Gates Foundation and its $31 billion infusion from Warren Buffett missed a detail that Alicia Mundy, our Washington D.C. reporter, dug up last year.

The former director of the foundation’s global health program, Dr. Richard D. Klausner, was the subject of an investigation by Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The probe looked into possible conflicts of interest and Klausner’s role in a National Cancer Institute contract awarded to Harvard University.

At the time the investigation, Klausner was global health director at the Gates Foundation. He resigned three days after the story came out, saying that he was leaving to launch a new venture in Seattle. He and the foundation both said the decision had nothing to do with the investigation.

Klausner’s venture, Seattle-based Column Group, is aiming to be one of the largest health-care-focused venture capital funds in the country. The Gates Foundation’s new director of global health is Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada, who joined the foundation this month from GlaxoSmithKline, where he was head of R&D.

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