Officials Investigating Reports That US Government Sent Millions In Duplicate Payments To Wuhan Lab

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Font Size:

Federal agencies may have made millions of dollars in double payments for research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), according to an investigator hired by Republican Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall.

Former federal investigator Diane Cutler found evidence of potential duplicate payments for medical equipment, travel and salaries, she told CBS News, which corroborated the existence of the evidence. Cutler said there are more than 50,000 documents pointing to the potential waste, and sources told CBS News the transactions could add up to tens of millions of dollars.

“What I’ve found so far is evidence that points to double billing, potential theft of government funds,” said Cutler, a former federal investigator with decades of experience dealing with fraud and other financial crimes. “It is concerning, especially since it involves dangerous pathogens and risky research.”

Marshall turned over Cutler’s findings to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the agency’s internal watchdog. USAID and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the agencies alleged to have made the duplicate payments.

The senator told CBS News he’d like to see the establishment of a commission to investigate the situation.

Various agencies, particularly the NIH, funded projects at the WIV via EcoHealth alliance, a non-profit intermediary non-profit group based in the U.S.. Proponents of the lab leak theory argue that research at the WIV, potentially funded by the U.S. government and EcoHealth, resulted in the release of COVID-19 from the Wuhan lab. (RELATED: ‘Wild West’: New Emails Reveal Fauci, NIH Officials Considered Warning FBI About Potential Lab Leak)

After this piece was published, EcoHealth founder Peter Daszak emailed the Daily Caller, copying an attorney and two other colleagues, accusing the Caller of spreading “misinformation.” Daszak claimed his organization would soon be fully cleared by a Government Accountability Office report that has yet to be published and defended his research, which numerous scientists have characterized as a threat to the existence of the human species, as “not risky” and enabling “public health measures.

“The allegations reported in the press about NIH and USAID-funded work in China are based on a misunderstanding of the differences between these two programs,” Daszak said, denying the veracity of the CBS report and allegations made by Cutler. “Our work was assessed by federal agencies for any duplication of effort prior to the award, and none were identified.”

Sen. Marshall disputed Daszak’s denial in a statement to the Daily Caller: “We are confident in the evidence we supplied to the USAID OIG’s Office of Investigations. EcoHealth Alliance has a long history of presenting positions about their research and actions that are unsupported by facts, most notably to NIH,” he said.

“EcoHealth will have ample opportunity to explain themselves to USAID OIG investigators,” he continued. “We invite EcoHealth to ‘explain’ their finances by providing their full grant accounting ledgers to the public forthwith. Open those books, Peter Daszak.”

The GAO did not respond to questions from the Daily Caller, and has not published a report on the allegations made by Cutler.

Last week, Congress voted to declassify all information about a potential lab leak from various U.S. intelligence agencies after the Department of Energy determined that it was the most likely explanation for the origins of the pandemic.