He was hired as the AIDS specialist at that Reagan era cell of conservative thinking, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. He was contacted in March by a right-wing think tank and all but offered a prestigious fellowship in order to complete a book (commissioned by New Republic Books).
Then he published a second piece, in The New Republic (August 8), titled "The Political Uses of an Epidemic." This time, he expanded on a point briefly mentioned in the Commentary article, and concentrated on conservatives who were misrepresenting AIDS for political reasons.
Then, on September 23, two commission officials appeared in his office and went through his files. The ostensible reason was to make sure he had turned over all AIDS materials to his successor in the job he had been hired for. The cultural similarity between todays conservative zealots and the American Communists of the 1930s and 1940s has often been noted but perhaps never so vividly illustrated.
Fumento departed from the party line. He committed the sin of "deviationism." Retribution was swift.