EXCLUSIVE: House Oversight Republicans Demand Answers From Fauci, Collins Over Grant To Wuhan Lab
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a Thursday letter to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID) Director Anthony Fauci demanding answers about a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which then conferred the taxpayer funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The Daily Caller first obtained the letter led by the Ranking Member Kentucky Rep. James Comer and signed by every Republican on the committee. In it, they will be invoking the Seven Member Rule, which is a law that requires, upon a request of seven Members on the Committee on Oversight and Reform, an executive agency to “submit any information requested of it relating to any matter within the jurisdiction of the committee.”
The Seven Member Rule passed Congress in 1928. The seven lawmakers can be members of either party, or a combination of both, and do not require the approval of the Chair. The difference between the Seven Member Rule and a subpoena is the right to information is codified in law and therefore not subject to delegation by the House.
In the letter, the lawmakers grilled Francis and Fauci for not responding to their inquiries regarding a 2014 grant awarded by the NIH to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. (EcoHealth) that was then awarded to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They also renewed their request for all documents and communications between the NIH, WIV, and EcoHealth Alliance regarding the grant, as well as those resulting from any U.S. government-led inspection of the WIV arranged by EcoHealth Alliance.
The lawmakers also called for Fauci’s unredacted emails to be produced to the committee.
EcoHealth provided $600,000 to the Wuhan lab in the form of NIH subgrants between 2014 and 2019 to study bat-based coronaviruses. (RELATED: US Grant To Wuhan Lab To Enhance Bat-Based Coronaviruses Was Never Scrutinized By HHS Review Board, NIH Says)
“On May 28, 2021, we wrote to you requesting information regarding a 2014 grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. (EcoHealth) that was subsequently awarded to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). You failed to respond,” the letter stated.
“On June 29, 2021, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Republicans held a forum discussing the origins of COVID-19. Expert witnesses testified that ‘the COVID pandemic was not a natural process but instead came from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and that it has the fingerprints of genetic manipulation through … gain-of-function research,” the letter said.
“You were invited to testify at this forum. You refused to participate,” the letter continued. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Launch COVID-19 Origins Inquiry)