SEN. GRASSLEY: Taxpayer money sent to communist Chinese government is ‘pretty scary proposition’

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On June 8th of this year, I came to the floor to speak about my oversight activity with respect to the origins of the coronavirus.

As part of that oversight, on March 8th and May 26th of this year, I wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services about its oversight of grants sent to Eco Health Alliance.

The Department sent millions of dollars to Eco Health.

That group then sub-awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars of that taxpayer money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Reports have indicated that $600,000 to $826,000 was sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

So, folks, what we have here is taxpayer money that was sent to the communist Chinese government.

That’s a pretty scary proposition.

When we send taxpayer money to the Chinese government, if there’s no oversight done on that money, then we really don’t have any idea how it’s used.

China can’t be trusted. Period. Just look at the news about China kicking the French out of the Wuhan lab.

But, I’m not sure bureaucrats share the same view.

To illustrate, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that Chinese scientists are trustworthy, that “we generally always trust the grantee to do what they say.”

As a threshold matter, if a government worker doesn’t show at least a little bit of skepticism about how a grant recipient is using taxpayer money, they aren’t doing their job.

That skepticism is healthy and it’s basic good government to question the recipient to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.

Dr. Fauci has also stated that the National Institutes of Health “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

That’s a confident statement.

When my colleague, Senator Paul, questioned Dr. Fauci on his position with respect to gain-of-function research, Dr. Fauci called my colleague a liar.

Well, the way I see it, the only way Dr. Fauci and the government can be so confident that no gain-of-function research was done is if they performed oversight of the money sent to China.

In both my letters to the Department of Health and Human Services, I asked that question.

So far, the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to answer the question.

On June 10th of this year at a Senate Finance Committee hearing, I asked Secretary Becerra what, if any, oversight was done.

He didn’t have an answer.

I asked again in follow-up questions for the record.

Still no response.

The Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, has also been silent on what, if any, oversight was done on the grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Dr. Fauci has been silent on what, if any, oversight he did.

This is a simple and very important question for the government to answer.

The more they deny the United States Congress an answer, the more it looks like these bureaucrats don’t give a lick about the American people.

Dr. Fauci is all over television, radio – you name it, he’s on it.

But, apparently he and his counterparts can’t find enough time to answer this very simple question:

Did you do any oversight of the taxpayer money you sent to Eco Health, money that you knew was going to the communist Chinese government? If so, please explain. If not, why not?

This isn’t difficult.

Either you did or you didn’t. And either way, the American people deserve an explanation.

And if they didn’t do any oversight, then how can they confidently say the money wasn’t used for gain-of-function research or other bad conduct?

We’ve lost over 600,000 Americans and this body has spent trillions of dollars to support our economy.

Congress and the American people have an absolute right to know what Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins did to oversee the money.

Enough with the games – just answer the question.

I understand that the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is doing an audit of what, if any, oversight was done.

They’re supposed to be taking a deep dive on the grants, cooperative arrangements and other relationships the government had with Eco Health Alliance.

The audit isn’t just focused on what the National Institutes of Health did or didn’t do to monitor the grants.

The scope also includes what Eco Health did or didn’t do to manage the funds in accordance with federal requirements.

And the scope of that review, at least right now, is from 2014-2021.

I expect the Inspector General to be aggressive and unrelenting.

Get the records, the emails and the memos.

Run the transcribed interviews and question everyone up the leadership chain.

Leave no stone unturned and make as much public as possible.

If punches are pulled, this audit will be a waste of everyone’s time and taxpayer money.

The Inspector General has a tremendous responsibility to get this done the right way.