Say this for the CDC director — she created the perfect hedge


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Stock-market investor Brenda Fitzgerald on Wednesday lost her primary career occupation as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just resigned, but not before constructing the perfect hedge.

The CDC as a government agency ostensibly aims to quell demand for tobacco, proclaiming on its website a vision of a “world free from tobacco-related death and disease.” The CDC says it is seeking to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and is trying to help tobacco users quit.

So the message sent by Brenda Fitzgerald in buying stock in Camel and Winston maker Japan Tobacco is that, as director of the CDC, she might not get the job done. In a sense, it’s honest and refreshing candor from a public servant.

Public officials rarely live up to the hype. Fitzgerald effectively bet that she would not.

In fact, as the story from Politico shows, buying Japan Tobacco

2914, -0.77%

merely rounded out her portfolio of tobacco stocks. She also reportedly owned stakes in Reynolds American, British American Tobacco

BTI, -0.63%

 , Imperial

IMB, +0.03%

, Philip Morris International

PM, -0.40%

and Altria Group Inc.

MO, +0.37%

when she was director of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Perusing her disclosure form, one might conclude the fact of the matter is that her big error was owning an array of individual stocks instead of index funds that would be a cheaper way to create a balanced portfolio — not to mention steer clear of a political firestorm.

Give her this, however: Her largest individual holding, valued at between $250,001 and $500,000, was Berkshire Hathaway

BRK.B, -0.26%


It’s hard to find a safer bet than investing in Warren Buffett.

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