House panel demands records of calls during pandemic between CDC and teacher union boss Weingarten
Wenstrup expressed his concerns about "potential political interference."
The House Coronavirus Pandemic Subcommittee on Wednesday demanded for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hand over phone records of conversations between Director Rochelle Walensky and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Committee Chairman Brad Wenstrup, an Ohio Republican, expressed his concerns about "potential political interference" in a letter to Walensky asking for the records after Weingarten told Congress she had the CDC head's direct phone number.
Earlier this month, messages obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from the Fairfax County Parents Association showed that Walensky had a friendly relationship with Weingarten and National Education Association President Becky Pringle. Weingarten's and Pringle's unions together have about 4.7 million members.
"The Department of Health and Human Services is continuing its pattern of obstructing Congress by apparently only producing documents already made publicly available via the FOIA. As a reminder, FOIA does not apply to Congress," Wenstrup wrote in his letter Wednesday. "The Department’s obstruction will not be tolerated. The American people deserve transparency."
Protect the Public's Trust Director Michael Chamberlain told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast last week that his group found "extensive coordination between ... the two main teachers unions and high-level officials in the Department of Education."
Walensky is expected to leave her position at CDC at the end of this week. Her replacement, former North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, is under scrutiny for her COVID-19 response, particularly with regard to school reopenings.