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COVID-19

House COVID Committee Confirms What We Have Long Suspected — The Feds Really Hate Transparency

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By ADAM ANDRZEJEWSKI

 

Last week details emerged from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, confirming what government transparency advocates long suspected: Federal bureaucrats are purposefully stonewalling the American people’s right to know about their government.

Republican Kentucky Rep. James Comer, who chairs the full House Oversight and Accountability Committee, read from an email that Dr. David Morens, a top aide to Dr. Anthony Fauci, sent claiming that a staffer inside the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had shown him how to erase records requested by the public.

He was corresponding with Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, the organization that used tax dollars to fund controversial gain-of-function research in Wuhan, where the COVID outbreak began. The Department of Health and Human Services has since suspended funding of EcoHealth Alliance.

Morens wrote: “I learned from our FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lady here how to make emails disappear after I am FOIA’d, but before the search starts. So, I think we are all safe. Plus, I deleted most of those earlier emails after sending them to Gmail.”

The implications for government transparency are enormous. How often do NIH staffers conceal what they do with our tax dollars? Why did a FOIA officer feel empowered to assist subjects of FOIA requests? How else do FOIA offers interfere with these requests? Has this behavior spread to the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies?

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com can speak to the problem. We have spent years — and gone to court — to force NIH to reveal the royalties paid to government scientists through medical innovation licensing.

When Americans are considering a drug or therapeutic recommended by public health officials, they deserve to understand all the financial stakes at play. Were any decision makers receiving payments? Were they continuing more lucrative research at the expense of other public health solutions?

For many, the question looming largest has been whether the relentless COVID vaccine push was driven by a potential windfall for NIH and certain scientists there.

When we first filed a FOIA, the agency ignored us and then refused to release the information.

After suing, NIH was required to release the information and began doing so incrementally due to the high volume of data. Tallied from 2009 through 2020, it amounted to an enormous sum–over $325 million paid by private companies to NIH and its scientists over 56,000 transactions.

Previously, we’d also discovered that Dr. Fauci, the face of the nation’s COVID response, was the highest compensated bureaucrat in the country. He out-earned President Biden. He out-earned his own boss, then-Acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak.

Along with Fauci, who scoffed at concerns about royalty payments, Tabak faced questions from Congress.

In a March 2023 budget hearing, Rep. John Moolenaar told Tabak an obvious truth: every single, secret royalty payment represents a potential conflict of interest.

“To me, one of the biggest concerns people had during this last couple years is: Were they getting truthful information from their government? Could they trust what people were saying about the medicines? To me, that creates a very disturbing appearance.”

“The idea that people were getting a financial benefit from certain research that was done and grants that were awarded, that to me is the height of the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Moolenaar concluded.

The lawmaker urged NIH to make the money trail more transparent.

It was Tabak in the hot seat again last week, as Comer recited Morens’ outrageous email message.

Was the behavior he described consistent with NIH policy, Comer asked? “It is not,” Tabak responded flatly.

Did the FOIA team at NIH help its colleagues avoid transparency? “I certainly hope not,” Tabak offered.

Hope doesn’t suffice in this situation. It demands that lawmakers strengthen transparency law, update it for the 21st century and create some consequences for bad actors.

There are a few primary ways bureaucrats and decisionmakers violate the spirit of the law.

First, they overuse a series of exemptions designed to protect national security secrets or privacy laws. Too much is omitted through these exceptions; the American people deserve the full truth.

When documents are produced, they’re too often rendered useless through excessive redactions. We’re still fighting in real time to get more pieces of the royalty puzzle revealed.

Next, unreasonable delays are blamed on staffing levels, while many FOIA-related roles sit open. Agencies must prioritize filling those seats and Congress should appropriate more of them as needed.

Finally, we have the behavior Morens describes. A post facto effort to simply abscond with the information. It’s not just a policy violation but an affront to the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act. What consequences do these staffers ever truly face?

Until we get serious about protecting transparency, “FOIA lady” will be a duly anonymous symbol of what many have suspected: government employees hustling to cover their tracks.

Adam Andrzejewski is founder & CEO of OpenTheBooks.com, the nation’s largest private database of public spending.

COVID-19

‘Incompetence’: Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Much Money It Sent To Chinese Entities For Risky Virus Research

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By NICK POPE

 

The Department of Defense (DOD) does not know how much money it directly or indirectly sent to Chinese entities to conduct research on viruses with pandemic potential, according to a new report by the DOD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The OIG’s report found that DOD has supplied Chinese entities — whether directly or indirectly via subgrants — with taxpayer cash to research pathogens and the enhancement thereof, but the exact figure is unknown because of “limitations” in the DOD’s internal tracking system. Government funding for such research in China has come under scrutiny since the coronavirus pandemic, which multiple government entities believe started when an engineered virus leaked from a Chinese laboratory that was hosting U.S. government-backed gain-of-function research.

“Incompetence, absurdity, insanity; it’s hard to find a word that adequately describes this. Of all the things that DOD tracks, funds for dangerous research that could find their way to a hostile regime should be at the top of the list of those they keep close tabs on,” Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, told the Daily Caller News Foundation regarding the OIG report’s findings. “It makes you wonder if they really know where all our nuclear warheads are. The military is one of the few areas of government in which the public still maintains a modicum of trust, but, sadly, it looks like they are working hard to squander even that.”

The OIG review of this specific issue was required by the terms of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2024, which President Joe Biden signed into law in December 2023. The OIG’s investigation sought to determine just how much taxpayer cash was routed via “grants, contracts, subgrants, subcontracts, or any other type of agreement or collaboration, to Chinese research labs or to fund research or experiments in China or other foreign countries that could have reasonably resulted in the enhancement of pathogens of pandemic potential, from 2014 through 2023.”

Specifically, the OIG learned from U.S. Army officials that 12 grant awards fit the description of what it was investigating, seven of which were subgrants or subcontracts provided to entities in China or other foreign countries for research involving or related to enhanced pathogens, its report states. The OIG’s review also identified a further $9.9 million in funding that reached Chinese entities for research purposes, though that research was unrelated to pathogens.

“However, we did encounter significant challenges in searching for awards related to section 252 of the FY 2024 NDAA reporting requirement due to limitations in the DoD’s systems used to track contracts and grants,” the OIG report states. “Therefore, the full extent of DoD funds provided to Chinese research laboratories or other foreign countries for research related to enhancement of pathogens of pandemic potential is unknown.”

The issues with DOD’s grant tracking systems created “significant constraints” for OIG that “hindered [its] ability to conduct a thorough examination” of DOD’s involvement in funding this specific type of research, the report states.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) previously conducted a similar review of DOD’s spending and Chinese entities receiving taxpayer dollars to conduct research on pathogens of pandemic potential, and its final report — published in September 2022 — also detailed similar struggles with the DoD’s grant and sub-grant tracking systems.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic most likely began when the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which was the site of gain-of-function research funded by the U.S. government via an organization called EcoHealth Alliance. Additionally, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray has acknowledged that his organization has reached a similar conclusion.

Despite this, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci has reiterated his position that a lab leak is the less likely scenario of the two as recently as Tuesday. The COVID-19 pandemic killed more than one million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and millions more globally, while the American policy response to the pandemic inflicted considerable economic and social damage on the general public.

The DOD did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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COVID-19

Canadian doctor forced to pay $44K fine, serve suspension for prescribing Ivermectin to treat COVID

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan claimed that a Regina doctor was engaged in unprofessional conduct for going against a policy that restricted doctors from prescribing Ivermectin or ‘alternative’ therapies.

A doctor working in a medium-sized Canadian city has been suspended and fined for prescribing Ivermectin to some of his patients to treat or prevent one from getting COVID.

On June 7, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) ruled that Regina doctor Tshipita Kabongo was engaged in unprofessional conduct for going against a policy that restricted doctors from prescribing Ivermectin or “alternative” therapies to patients.

As a result, Kabongo was hit with a one-month suspension starting August 1 and was ordered to pay $44,783.72, which was what it cost for the investigation and hearing.

Kabongo worked at the Integrated Wellness and Health Balance Centre in Regina. From April 2020 to March 2022, he prescribed Ivermectin to some of his patients.

The CPSS policy on “alternatives” to the COVID jabs as a means to combat the virus stated that it is “unethical to engage in or to aid and abet in treatment which has no acceptable scientific basis, may be dangerous, may deceive the patient by giving false hope, or which may cause the patient to delay in seeking conventional care until his or her condition becomes irreversible.”

Instead, the CPSS only promoted the COVID shots for the virus, which today are known to have many negative side effects.

“The most effective strategy for preventing COVID-19 continues to be immunization and all Saskatchewan. Ministry of Health approved vaccines provide a high level of protection,” the CPSS said in a joint letter.

According to the CPSS, Kabongo’s recommendation of Ivermectin to some of his patients was not “medically” necessary because he did not recommend other treatment options.

Health Canada, along with many medical groups in Saskatchewan and in other provinces, in the fall of 2021 said that using Ivermectin to treat COVID was potentially dangerous and claimed that there was no evidence the drugs worked to stop the virus.

However, Dr. Pierre Kory, the author of The War on Ivermectinclaimed in testimony that the drug is safe and said some meta-studies show that it has an 81 percent mortality reduction rate in those with COVID.

COVID vaccine mandates, which came from provincial governments with the support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government, split Canadian society. Many governmental or private sector workers lost their jobs for refusing to get the shots.

Shots were promoted by health officials as only way to treat COVIDn

The mRNA shots have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

A recent study by a team of experts that includes prominent critics of the COVID establishment as well as Dr. Peter McCullough shows that the COVID shots have a 200-times higher risk of brain clots than other injections.

The jabs also have connections to cell lines derived from aborted babies. As a result, many Catholics and other Christians refused to take them.

However, despite health officials in Canada and the United States opposing using Ivermectin, which is historically used to treat parasites and rosacea when applied to the skin, the drug has long been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a variety of human ailments. In fact, it is included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO’S) Model List of Essential Medicines.

During the earlier days of COVID, the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID gained notoriety, and there have been many promising studies along with anecdotal reports of positive results from the use of the drugs.

It even got to the point that some families in the United States had to go to court to force hospitals to let them try the medications for their loved ones. Some U.S. doctors have seen their medical licenses threatened for prescribing it, which prompted states such as Missouri and Oklahoma to take action to protect medical freedom for those who wish to try and prescribe them.

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