Feds suspend, propose personal funding ban on Peter Daszak of Wuhan funder EcoHealth Alliance

Follows suspension and proposed debarment of EcoHealth Alliance itself. COVID subcommittee says it won't "shield him from accountability" for potentially lying under oath.

Published: May 22, 2024 11:35am

The Department of Health and Human Services followed its suspension and proposed debarment of EcoHealth Alliance, which passed through taxpayer money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a suspected source of COVID-19, by doing the same for its president, Peter Daszak, a week later.

The only difference between the documents invoked to justify the immediate and proposed permanent funding bans in the May 15 and May 21 notification letters to EcoHealth and Daszak, respectively, appears to be that the latter references the former.

The letter Tuesday and the formal "action referral memorandum," made public Wednesday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, is from a redacted "Suspension and Debarment Official and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions."

It tells Daszak the suspension and proposed permanent funding ban is "related to your respective roles" as EcoHealth president as well as program director and principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease grant to study "the risk of bat coronavirus emergence."

Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup said in a press release Wednesday he called for Daszak's personal debarment at a hearing last week with NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak and the subcommittee issued a report two weeks earlier on Daszak's "flagrant disregard for the risks associated with gain-of-function research, and his willful violation of the terms of his NIH grant."

This "will ensure [Daszak] never again receives a single cent from U.S. taxpayers nor has the opportunity to start a new, untrustworthy organization," but it "does not shield him from accountability" for potentially lying under oath "about his relationship with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and his compliance with NIH grant procedures," The Ohio lawmaker said.

The White Coat Waste Project, which took credit for focusing scrutiny on EcoHealth four years ago, said Daszak was "the latest domino to fall but shouldn’t be the last" in the funding of "wasteful and reckless virus hunting and animal experimentation that can cause pandemics and create bioweapons."

Senior Vice President Justin Goodman noted its investigation found NIH gave $8 million in 2021 and 2023 to build a new bat lab at Colorado State University supplied with infected bats via the EcoHealth Alliance, which WCW dubbed "Wuhan West."

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