House Republicans sent a warning to the National Institutes of Health to save all existing records and documents related to the origins of COVID-19, part of the preparation for a congressional probe when the GOP runs the chamber in January.
Top Republicans on the Energy and Commerce committee listed out a series of unanswered correspondence the panel sent to the NIH during this Congress, voicing concerns about the agency’s transparency with lawmakers and the American people.
“According to its mission statement, a goal of the National Institutes of Health is ‘to exemplify … the highest level of scientific integrity and public accountability. However, given the overall lack of adequate responsiveness to our oversight letters, the NIH is falling short of the goal set forth in its mission statement,” members wrote in a letter to NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak.
The notice comes as Republicans prepare for a series of investigations of the Biden administration.
The letter was signed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington who is the top Republican on Energy and Commerce. Committee members Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia also signed the letter.
They asked for support for an investigation into the coronavirus’s origins, including the possibility that it came from a lab leak.
They also sought information on federal money going to the nongovernmental organization EcoHealth Alliance and subsequently China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, which the NGO funded.
Additionally, members sought information about an NIAID experiment that sought to enhance the dangerous nature of the monkeypox virus.
The members request all electronic messages from official and personal accounts and devices be saved, as well as all documents and other related information and metadata.
Copies of the letter were sent to the committee’s Democrats counterparts and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President.
Dr. Fauci will step down from his government post in December before Republicans take control of the House.
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