WASHINGTON—Because the organization that funneled taxpayer dollars into China’s state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) refuses to answer questions about how that money was spent and the activities within the lab, yet continues to receive millions of taxpayer dollars, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is putting forward legislation to protect Iowa taxpayer dollars by cutting off funding to organizations, like EcoHealth, that violated federal laws and refuses to cooperate with efforts to discover the origins of COVID.
 
When NIH requested information about the U.S. tax dollars diverted to the Wuhan lab and the viruses being studied and safety conditions there, EcoHealth called the questioning “inappropriate” and “heinous.” They even orchestrated an effort to taint the scientific investigation, calling the idea of a lab leak a “conspiracy theory.” 
 
In July 2020, when EcoHealth refused to answer these basic questions, NIH suspended its grant to EcoHealth until the information requested was provided. Despite stonewalling the agency, the very next month NIH awarded EcoHealth a $7.5 million grant.  EcoHealth has also including more than $5 million from the Department of Defense since July 2020.
 
The Stop the Outlay of Payments (STOP) Act would cut off all funding to any organization—like EcoHealth—that refuses to provide information about a project or fails to obey federal laws.
 
“Despite skirting federal law and refusing to disclose how much U.S. taxpayer money was funneled to Communist China’s Wuhan Institute and the details about the coronavirus research the funding supported, EcoHealth Alliance was rewarded with another $7.5 million. Iowa taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for any organization that fails to comply with federal law. My bill would prevent federal funding from going to organizations, like EcoHealth, until they provide answers on how and where taxpayer dollars are being spent,” said Senator Ernst.
 
Background:
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.
 
Last month, Senator Ernst successfully banned any additional future U.S. funding from going to China’s state-lab.
 
###