Leader Rodgers: “EcoHealth Shouldn’t Be Getting a Dime of Taxpayer Funds.”

Oct 03, 2022
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) issued the following statement after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants database indicated it has apparently restored funding to EcoHealth Alliance after suspending its grant for more than two years. These actions are concerning given that EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak, have failed to comply with requests from Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans in their investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“EcoHealth Alliance and Peter Daszak should not be getting a dime of taxpayer funds until they are completely transparent. Period. This is madness,” Leader Rodgers said. “This further intensifies our extensive commitment on the Energy and Commerce Committee to ensure accountability from the National Institutes of Health for its role in supporting taxpayer-funded risky research without proper oversight of its grantees. The NIH must restore trust with the American people who deserve every assurance that research dollars are spent with the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and biosafety standards that meet the goal of preventing the next pandemic.” 

Note: As recently reported by Bloomberg and the Washington Post, the COVID-19 origins investigation is a top priority for oversight by Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans. 

  • BLOOMBERG: “Rodgers said she sees a “real crisis of confidence” in federal health agencies started by the Covid pandemic and a reluctance by officials to probe the origins of the virus and laboratory safety.”
  • WAPO: “’Even if it is not connected to the origins of [Covid-19], the risks are apparent and biosafety practices need to be strengthened as our oversight examines the risks and benefits of virus-hunting research to prevent pandemics,” Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), and H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) wrote.
  • “The three lawmakers are the top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, its health subcommittee and its oversight subcommittee, respectively, which oversee the nation’s health agencies. The lawmakers have repeatedly called for broader investigations into government funding for “gain-of-function research,” which may result in more lethal or transmissible versions of viruses, and whether SARS-CoV-2 originated in a laboratory.” 

Additional background: Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans sought information from EcoHealth Alliance in April 16, 2021 request letter. EcoHealth Alliance and Daszak did not reply to the requests for information from Energy and Commerce Republicans. 

  • Leaders from the Energy and Commerce Committee have sent multiple letters to NIH and EcoHealth Alliance without a response. This includes letters sent to EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak on April 16, 2021 and seven out of nine letters sent to the NIH related to the EcoHealth Alliance grant or COVID origins. 
  • The members issued a statement on October 20, 2021 after the NIH turned over certain information from EcoHealth’s grants and reports. On October 27, 2021, the leaders from E&C sent another letter to the NIH asking about risky gain-of-function research conducted by EcoHealth. 
  • Concerned with EcoHealth not being held accountable, the members sent a letter on November 30, 2021 to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). In their letter, the members urged NAM to immediately suspend EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak as a NAM member and to conduct a comprehensive investigation into his conduct related to COVID-19 origins to determine whether he should be expelled. 
  • More questions surrounding the NIH’s oversight of grants to EcoHealth came forward in the members’ February 24, 2022 letter to the NIH after EcoHealth had failed to properly respond to requests from the NIH in early January 2022. The members cited possible double billing of the federal government by EcoHealth and missing notebooks from their reports. This led to an April 25, 2022 letter to NIH from the members where they demanded the NIH investigate Daszak and EcoHealth for a cover-up and possible fraud related to research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

CLICK HERE to read more about the investigation into the origins of COVID-19.