DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced a bill that would stop federal funding to organizations that refuse to provide information about the program using taxpayer funding or violate federal law.
The Stop the Outlay of Payments (STOP) Act results from EcoHealth Alliance, which refused to answer the questions the National Institutes of Health had in July of 2020 about tax dollars diverted to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. EcoHealth called the questioning “inappropriate” and “heinous” and orchestrated an effort to taint the scientific investigation, calling the idea of a lab leak a “conspiracy theory.”
Since then, EcoHealth Alliance received $7.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and $5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense.
“EcoHealth Alliance is violating multiple federal laws that require the group to disclose how much and how taxpayer money was spent at the Wuhan lab. And instead of facing reprisals for withholding what can be key scientific evidence into the beginnings of the pandemic. NIH is rewarding the group,” Ernst said on a press call on Tuesday.
EcoHealth Alliance has received in total over $60 million in federal funding.
“To find the truth about COVID-19. We need to follow the science and the money. Folks, the information EcoHealth Alliance possesses could strengthen the case for or against the lab leak theory. It’s absolutely critical that we get access to that information,” Ernst stated.
“There’s no reason Iowa taxpayers should continue to foot the bill for organizations that fail to follow federal laws, particularly one that could hold answers to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Under the STOP Act, grant recipients have 120 days to come into compliance after being suspended and can continue to receive support from other grants if an agreement has been made to resolve the suspension of the grant.
The Iowa Torch asked Ernst about how the lab leak theory was dismissed as a false conspiracy theory early during the pandemic.
“As someone who has been sounding the alarm for more than a year about U.S. tax dollars being funneled to Communist China’s Wuhan lab, it’s unacceptable to me that those in the Democratic party and the liberal media immediately dismissed this theory and ignored the science from the beginning about the origins of COVID. The bottom line is that the American people, and frankly the world, deserve answers so we can prevent this from happening again, and it’s shameful those on the Left didn’t take the lab-leak theory seriously,” she told The Iowa Torch in an email after the press call.
Later Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General announced they would launch an investigation into the NIH’s grant program, including the tax dollars funneled to EcoHealth Alliance that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Ernst pushed for the Department’s Inspector General to do this as far back as March of this year.
Listen to the full press call below: