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Ernst Demands DoD Release Unredacted Report on Funding Chinese Labs

Pentagon Hiding How Millions of Tax Dollars are Being Spent on Risky Research in China

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding the Department of Defense (DoD) release the full, unredacted report she secured revealing the agency cannot keep track of millions of dollars sent to Chinese research laboratories.

Even though none of the information in the Office of Inspector General (OIG) report is marked classified, large sections were redacted, including entire pages, in what appears to be an attempted cover up.

“With DoD secretly funding risky research on dangerous pathogens and diseases in China, this alarming Inspector General investigation demonstrates Washington hasn’t learned any lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ernst. “The Pentagon should allow the OIG to immediately release, in full, an uncensored and unredacted version of the report. There is no reason for playing hide-and-seek with how and where the hard-earned money provided by taxpayers is being spent.”

“Thanks to Senator Ernst, the Pentagon admits to wasting tax dollars on dangerous animal experiments with Ebola, COVID and other viruses in China and other foreign countries and that the agency has failed to follow the money and has no clue if animal labs in China are spending our money on gain-of-function experiments that can cause pandemics,” said White Coat Waste Project Senior Vice President Justin Goodman. “Especially after what we exposed in Wuhan, taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent in foreign animal labs and we’re grateful to Sen. Ernst for introducing the TRACKS Act to keep tabs on government spending in China and other adversarial nations.”

View the full letter here.


Ernst authored the provision contained within the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act directing the DoD OIG to conduct this audit into Pentagon funding of risky research in China and other foreign nations.

In 2021, Ernst requested the Health and Human Services (HHS) OIG investigation of EcoHealth’s experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which found the group’s work with the Wuhan Institute resulted in enhanced coronaviruses and did not comply with federal reporting requirements. The findings of this report are cited in the suspension and proposed debarment issued by HHS.

In June of 2021, Senator Ernst introduced the TRACKS Act which would require every penny from a government grant paid to any organization in China and Russia to be tracked and publicly disclosed.