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As surgeon general, Dr. Murthy would become the nation’s most recognizable doctor, overseeing 6,700 public health care professionals and 200,000 volunteers.

Dr. Murthy has pledged to recuse himself from any specific matters involving the Center for American Progress for a year after his resignation from Doctors for America, according to ethics forms he signed last month.

A big supporter of Obamacare, he is the latest nominee with ties to the Center for American Progress to join the Obama administration.

The organization’s founder, John Podesta, is taking a job as counselor to Mr. Obama. Other alumni include Brian Deese, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff.

After mounting scrutiny, the Center for American Progress recently disclosed a list of more than 50 corporate funding sources, including several with health care interests. It’s unclear based on the list whether those funders donated to the center or to Doctors for American or both.

The corporate donors include Quest Diagnostics, Health Care Service Corp., Eli Lilly and Co., and CVS Caremark, all of which lobby HHS.

The White House made no mention of Dr. Murthy’s ties to the Center for American Progress in announcing his nomination in November. It described him first and foremost as co-founder and president of Doctors for America, even though his financial disclosure forms list no income from that position.

Since last year, Dr. Murthy reported earning $173,900 in salary from the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization in Boston and $220,000 from privately held Epernicus LLC, a software firm he helped found now known as TrialNetworks.

An early backer of Obamacare, he appeared at a White House event in 2009 along with other doctors to tout Mr. Obama’s health care initiative. He also hasn’t been shy about wading into other contentious debates.

Last fall, as lawmakers debated gun control legislation, Dr. Murthy shared his thoughts on Twitter: “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.”