A week before the state of Tennessee fired Dr. Michelle Fiscus as its vaccine chief after Republican lawmakers complained about her push to get teens vaccinated against COVID-19 without parental permission, she said a dog muzzle was sent to her.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
"At first, I thought that was a joke and contacted a few friends, and then, when no one claimed it, I realized that that was something that was sent to me as some kind of a message," Fiscus told CNN's Anderson Cooper last month.
Fiscus also told Cooper that "they obviously didn't know me because they sent me a size three, which is for beagles, and I'm obviously a pit bull, which requires a size six."
Following the the anonymous dog muzzle delivery to her state office, Fiscus contacted the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, which launched an investigation, the cable network reported.
What did the investigation find?
Well, Homeland Security discovered through a subpoena that the Amazon package containing the muzzle was traced to a credit card in Fiscus' name, Axios first reported.
The outlet said Fiscus gave investigators information for an Amazon account in her name, which was a different account than the one used to purchase the muzzle.
Homeland Security's investigation concluded that "purchases from both Amazon accounts were charged to the same American Express credit card in the name of Dr. Michelle D. Fiscus," Axios reported.
Fiscus denies sending the muzzle to herself
Fiscus denied sending the muzzle to herself.
What else do we know?
The anonymous package containing the muzzle lacked a return address or any data indicating who sent it, WTVF-TV reported, adding that the investigation also found that "there is no evidence to indicate that the dog muzzle was intended to threaten Dr. Fiscus."
The Amazon account used to send the muzzle was created in March, the station added.
'I can't tell you how this happened'
Fiscus sent WTVF the following statement:
I was just made aware of the report from Homeland Security today when it was shared with me by Axios Nashville. I had requested that Homeland Security obtain a subpoena as Amazon refused to release details of the account that ordered the muzzle that was delivered to my office on July 3, 2021. We have now learned that a second Amazon account had been established under my name using what appears to be a temporary phone, possibly in Washington state. I have asked Homeland Security for the unredacted report so that I can investigate further and am awaiting their response.
And in a Monday interview with the station, Fiscus acknowledged the charge for the muzzle did show up on her American Express statement, but she repeatedly denied purchasing it.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
"I can't tell you how that happened except that I have used that credit card to purchase travel and to register for conferences and other things that have been reimbursed by the state of Tennessee," Fiscus told WTVF.
More from the station:
She added she felt the state's report was filled with inconsistencies. She said a second Amazon account in her name was set up using a burner phone with T-Mobile service, and she doesn't use that provider. In addition, the Amazon account listed her office as the billing address, which she said isn't the address associated with her credit card.
She said she doesn't know who was responsible for buying the muzzle, but wouldn't rule out someone who works for state government.
"I think there's enough information at the state if they wanted to fabricate this," Fiscus also told WTVF. "They have access to my credit card. They know my office address. It could be done."
Investigation: Muzzle sent to fired vaccine official Dr. Fiscus was sent from her Amazon account youtu.be