Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Biden Administration Endorses Republican Accusation of Exempt Org's Funding of Covid-19 Epidemic

Wuhan Institute of Virology - Wikipedia

Well, doggonnit, am I gonna have to apologize to the members of Ways and Means I said were acting like fascists last week?  Because last week I implied that the Republicans were mischaracterizing Civil Society via a raft of bills and letters. All portraying Civil Society as conspirators in an effort to develop the Covid virus, rig elections, and import Chinese green energy to the United States.  I all but said the Republicans were a bunch of lunatics.  

Because a few days ago the Biden Administration  cut off HHS grants to EcoHealth, one of the exempt conspirators singled out by House Republicans in their offensive on Civil Society.  The debarment endorses, implicitly at least, Republican accusations that EcoHealth funded a Wuhan lab that developed and then spilled Covid-19 all over the place. From The Signal:

EcoHealth Alliance, the nonprofit, “did not adequately monitor” compliance from the Wuhan lab with the terms and conditions of a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Henrietta Brisbon, a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH’s parent agency, said in a May 15 letter to EcoHealth President Peter Daszak. Officials also found that the subaward to Wuhan lacked requirements that would make the grant in compliance with federal law and regulations. EcoHealth passed more than $1 million to the Wuhan lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, over the years to study bat coronaviruses. 

In 2019, the experiments yielded a more virulent version of a bat virus in mice, according to an annual report for 2019 that was not conveyed to the U.S. government by EcoHealth until 2021. U.S. officials then asked for laboratory notebooks and other files regarding the testing. EcoHealth officials said they did not have the files, but had forwarded the request to the Wuhan lab. Wuhan officials never provided the files, according to U.S. and EcoHealth officials. 

“EcoHealth facilitated gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China without proper oversight, willingly violated multiple requirements of its multimillion-dollar National Institutes of Health grant, and apparently made false statements to the NIH,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, said in a statement. “These actions are wholly abhorrent, indefensible, and must be addressed with swift action. EcoHealth’s immediate funding suspension and future debarment is not only a victory for the U.S. taxpayer, but also for American national security and the safety of citizens worldwide.” 

You can read the debarment letter here.  In the meantime, the NY Times reports that HHS took the action because of serious  pressure from those I implied were fascists:

The Biden administration, under acute pressure from House lawmakers, moved on Wednesday to ban funding for a prominent virus-hunting nonprofit group whose work with Chinese scientists had put it at the heart of theories that Covid leaked from a lab.  The decision, announced in a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services, came on the heels of a scorching congressional hearing this month at which lawmakers barraged the group’s president with suggestions that he had misrepresented work with virologists in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began. Republicans went further, demanding that Peter Daszak, the president of the nonprofit, EcoHealth Alliance, be criminally investigated.

The article goes on to note that Democrats are also expressing anger about EcoHealth.  EcoHealth disputes the basis for debarment and has 30 days to appeal.  So I am not ready to concede just yet just because the effort is becoming increasingly bipartisan.  It might be that the Democrats are joining in only to negate a potential campaign issue.  If so, it means that politics are yet intruding on Civil Society.

darryll k. jones  

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2024/05/well-doggonnit-am-i-gonna-have-to-eat-crow-and-apologize-to-the-members-of-ways-and-means-i-called-fascists-last-week-be.html

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