Ernst Says Defund EcoHealth Alliance After Investigation Reveals Their Mismanagement of COVID Experiments in Wuhan, China
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is calling on Congress to put an immediate and permanent end to taxpayer funding of EcoHealth Alliance following the release of an investigation today that found the organization mismanaged coronavirus experiments in Wuhan, China.
Senator Ernst requested the investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) upon learning that EcoHealth was spending tax dollars on dangerous coronaviruses in Communist China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and was not disclosing information about those projects to the public, as required by law.
The investigation found EcoHealth, WIV, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were all at fault for mismanagement:
- EcoHealth did not immediately notify NIH when a coronavirus was enhanced to become more lethal, as required; and, when it did, NIH did not quickly act to have the pathogen reviewed for pandemic potential.
- EcoHealth misspent tens of thousands of tax dollars on bonuses, junkets, and other unallowable costs.
- China’s WIV did not cooperate.
The OIG suggests that WIV should be permanently barred from receiving U.S. taxpayer dollars, EcoHealth should return misspent taxpayer money, and NIH should increase oversight of EcoHealth and other projects involving pathogens with pandemic potential.
Ernst’s response to the HHS investigation:
“While NIH certainly shares in the blame, EcoHealth Alliance is ultimately at fault for failing to tell the world what was really going on at China’s Wuhan Institute. They are guilty of either complacency or a cover-up, or maybe a little of both,” said Ernst. “EcoHealth was paid millions, promising their hunt for bat viruses would protect the world from a pandemic…well, the world got a pandemic, and EcoHealth keeps getting millions. We can’t afford any more of EcoHealth’s ‘prevention’ efforts. That’s why we must permanently ban them from receiving taxpayer dollars ever again.”
Since the world learned of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020 – including the role EcoHealth might have played in a potential lab leak— EcoHealth has been given more than $40 million in taxpayer dollars. Just last month, the Biden administration awarded the group $3 million out of the Department of Defense (DOD) budget.
Ernst’s response to the administration’s latest check to EcoHealth:
“The Biden administration is funding EcoHealth to search for risky viruses in places all across the globe, except where they might actually find them: in their own lab experiments! Washington is looking for ways to trim spending, so let’s start by cutting the millions of dollars flowing to EcoHealth’s batty experiments,” said Ernst.