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On Friday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra demanding that he provide a detailed explanation for why HHS continues to ignore a legal requirement to fully produce previously requested information relating to the origins of COVID-19.

During a March 14, 2024 hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Johnson confronted Sec. Becerra about HHS’s failure to respond to a records request he and four of his colleagues sent nearly three years ago.

On June 11, 2021, Sen. Johnson and four of his colleagues on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee invoked 5 U.S.C. § 2954 requiring HHS to fully comply with their request for records relating to the pandemic’s origins, including emails sent to and from Dr. Anthony Fauci.

In a March 2023 hearing, after Sen. Johnson highlighted HHS’s lack of compliance with this request, Sec. Becerra testified that the senators are “absolutely entitled to the information that by law a member of the Senate or the House should get.”

One year after that testimony, and nearly three years after the senators’ initial letter, HHS still refuses to provide all the requested records.

“It is well past time for HHS to meet its legal obligation and produce, without redactions, the approximately 50 pages of priority records my office identified in 2021,” Sen. Johnson wrote.

“You previously testified that I am ‘absolutely entitled’ to that information. Congress and the American people expect you to fulfill your responsibility and live up to your word,” Sen. Johnson added.

Given the heavy redactions in the approximately 50 pages of priority records, Sen. Johnson requested that Sec. Becerra provide a privilege log detailing the specific privileges that HHS believes prevent them from removing the redactions. Sen. Johnson also requested a phone call or in-person meeting with Sec. Becerra to discuss the steps HHS will take to respond to all outstanding information requests, including the June 2021 letter.

Read more about the senator’s March 15, 2024 letter to Sec. Becerra in the New York Post.

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Author: Press Release


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