Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a Thursday letter to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID) Director Anthony Fauci demanding answers about a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which then conferred the taxpayer funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The Daily Caller first obtained the letter led by the Ranking Member Kentucky Rep. James Comer and signed by every Republican on the committee. In it, they will be invoking the Seven Member Rule, which is a law that requires, upon a request of seven Members on the Committee on Oversight and Reform, an executive agency to “submit any information requested of it relating to any matter within the jurisdiction of the committee.”
The Seven Member Rule passed Congress in 1928. The seven lawmakers can be members of either party, or a combination of both, and do not require the approval of the Chair. The difference between the Seven Member Rule and a subpoena is the right to information is codified in law and therefore not subject to delegation by the House.
In the letter, the lawmakers grilled Francis and Fauci for not responding to their inquiries regarding a 2014 grant awarded by the NIH to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. (EcoHealth) that was then awarded to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They also renewed their request for all documents and communications between the NIH, WIV, and EcoHealth Alliance regarding the grant, as well as those resulting from any U.S. government-led inspection of the WIV arranged by EcoHealth Alliance.
The lawmakers also called for Fauci’s unredacted emails to be produced to the committee.
EcoHealth provided $600,000 to the Wuhan lab in the form of NIH subgrants between 2014 and 2019 to study bat-based coronaviruses. (RELATED: US Grant To Wuhan Lab To Enhance Bat-Based Coronaviruses Was Never Scrutinized By HHS Review Board, NIH Says)
“On May 28, 2021, we wrote to you requesting information regarding a 2014 grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. (EcoHealth) that was subsequently awarded to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). You failed to respond,” the letter stated.
“On June 29, 2021, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Republicans held a forum discussing the origins of COVID-19. Expert witnesses testified that ‘the COVID pandemic was not a natural process but instead came from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and that it has the fingerprints of genetic manipulation through … gain-of-function research,” the letter said.
“You were invited to testify at this forum. You refused to participate,” the letter continued. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Launch COVID-19 Origins Inquiry)
READ THE LETTER HERE:
Many Republican lawmakers have called for Fauci’s resignation after thousands of his emails from the beginning of the global pandemic were published by The Washington Post and Buzzfeed News. The emails contained comments on wearing masks, the lab leak theory, and more. (RELATED: The Top Six Revelations From Anthony Fauci’s Emails)
“We renew our previous request for documents and information pertaining to the relationship between the NIH and EcoHealth pursuant to 5 USC § 2954, the Seven Member Rule. Please produce these documents as soon as possible but no later than July 29, 2021,” the lawmakers demanded in the letter. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Reps Comer, Jordan Demand Fauci To Explain Possible ‘Discrepancy’ In Sworn Congressional Testimony)
“Further, we request unredacted versions of the following emails that were released under FOIA as soon as possible but no later than July 29, 2021,” the letter added, followed by a list of Fauci’s emails that are redacted. (RELATED: Why Did A Pentagon Subagency Dedicated To Countering WMDs Give $37.5 Million To Firm With Ties To Wuhan Lab?)
They then asked both Francis and Fauci to provide a full and complete briefing on these topics no later than July 22, 2021.
The Daily Caller contacted the NIH and the NAID about the letter to which they did not immediately respond.