Biden Health Department Accused Of Obstructing COVID Pandemic Investigation

(Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
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The Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is being accused of obstructing a congressional investigation into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republican Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup, chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, accused the HHS of obstructing the committee’s investigative efforts and scheduled a hearing on the matter. (RELATED: Fauci’s Top Adviser Admits He’s Done Zero Research On Possible Lab-Leak Despite Claiming It Definitely Didn’t Happen)

“HHS has spent the last year intentionally avoiding lawful Congressional oversight. When the Select Subcommittee requested documents, HHS ignored our letters and provided suspect excuses,” Wenstrup said in a statement Friday.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 11: Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) speaks at a hearing with the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Capitol Hill on July 11, 2023 in Washington, DC. Members of the committee met to hear testimony from medical researchers on the origins of Covid-19. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“When we asked for important testimony, HHS seemed to purposefully mislead Select Subcommittee investigators. This pattern of avoiding accountability to the American people can not, and should not, be tolerated any longer. The Department must be held responsible for its parade of delays, excuses, and obfuscation.”

Wenstrup scheduled a hearing Jan. 31 with HHS official Melanie Egorin to address the alleged obstruction by the agency.

The COVID subcommittee subpoenaed the HHS in November to have Egorin appear for a closed-door deposition scheduled Nov. 16. In its subpoena cover letter, the Covid subcommittee expressed frustration at HHS for allegedly producing documents with significant redactions, slow-walking documents requests and withholding documents.

The redactions included information available in similar Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) public records requests and the names of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members because of alleged threats towards scientists, according to the subcommittee.

House lawmakers gave the subcommittee broad authority to investigate the executive branch’s pandemic preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Top officials involved with the COVID-19 response such as former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci have testified before the subcommittee as part of its wide ranging investigation.

A whistleblower came forward to the committee with allegations the CIA offered financial rewards to analysts involved with its investigation into the lab leak theory of COVID-19’s origins.

In July, the committee published a report describing how Fauci appeared to orchestrate a campaign to discredit the lab leak theory at the start of the pandemic. Assessments from the FBI and Department of Energy have concluded COVID-19 most likely originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.

HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.