AMAC Exclusive – By Louis J. Senn
With Republicans poised to retake control of Congress this fall, many Americans are eager to finally get some real answers from Dr. Anthony Fauci. How much did he really know about gain of function research in Wuhan? Why did he change his position on masking? What conflicts of interest were at play when he was advising President Trump on COVID-19 policy? Until now, elected Democrats and the mainstream media have done all they can to protect Dr. Fauci from facing tough questions like these. Here’s a look at just a few questions Dr. Fauci might have to face after November.
How Much Did Fauci Know About Gain of Function Research in Wuhan?
We now know for certain that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was conducting gain of function research on coronaviruses prior to the first cases of COVID-19 popping up in Wuhan. However, what is still not clear is the degree to which the NIH – and specifically the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci leads – was involved with funding that research. As more information continues to come out about the research occurring at the Wuhan laboratory, Americans deserve to know if their government was using their tax dollars to fund research in a Chinese lab that may have unleashed or even created a virus which shut down the world for two years.
In a Senate hearing last November, Fauci told Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) that “gain of function is a very nebulous term.” However, Fauci’s dodgy answer does not seem to alleviate genuine concern. For example, Fauci had admitted that the NIH had contributed funds to the Wuhan Institute for the purposes of studying coronaviruses, however, he denied that gain of function was part of this study. But in a letter to Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the NIH tacitly admitted to some level of gain of function research when it said that experimentation was being done to see if bat coronaviruses could bind to human proteins.
What exactly was the NIH doing by providing funding to the Wuhan laboratory in question? Was the lab exploring making coronaviruses more lethal? While some Republicans like Senator Paul have tried to demand accountability from Fauci and other U.S. government officials, Democrats in Congress have consistently worked to stop the truth from coming out. With Republicans in control of hearings, Americans might finally get the transparency they deserve.
Did Fauci Have Reason to Believe Early in 2020 That the Virus Could Have Escaped From a Chinese Lab?
When some scientists and Republican politicians – most notably former President Trump – began raising questions in 2020, the media and Dr. Fauci were quick to dismiss the idea that COVID-19 could have escaped from the Wuhan lab. We now know that the lab leak theory was not only possible, but likely.
But even as Fauci was publicly denouncing the lab leak hypothesis, a release of some of Fauci’s emails in 2021 showed that in January of 2020, still well before any lockdowns, other scientists had warned Fauci that bits of the coronavirus appeared engineered. (Notably, Fauci continued to insist in the summer of 2021 that “the most likely explanation is a natural evolution from an animal reservoir to a human,” even as other scientists had warned otherwise.)
These emails provide more questions than answers. Why was Fauci so confident that COVID-19 could not have escaped from a lab in Wuhan? Why did he allegedly keep key information from top administration officials, including President Trump? Was he worried about his connections to that lab coming to light? Most importantly, could we have had a more effective response had we known all that Fauci knew in early 2020?
Has Fauci Been Abusing His Position to Enrich Himself?
With an annual salary higher than the president’s, Dr. Fauci is the highest-paid individual in the entire federal government. However, that may not be the only source of Fauci’s wealth.
Recently, Open the Books (an organization that “works hard to capture and post all disclosed [government] spending”) discovered that “between fiscal years 2010 and 2020, more than $350 million in royalties were paid by third-parties [pharmaceutical companies] to the agency and NIH scientists.” It has been known and documented that Fauci’s name appears on many patents going back decades that have come out of the NIH. If Fauci was influencing public policy during the pandemic and influencing doctors everywhere regarding treatment, Americans deserve to know where his potential conflict of interests may have been.
Fauci has claimed that his financial disclosures are easily accessible online but subsequent investigations have revealed that is not the case, and the NIH has denied multiple requests to release them. If Republicans win this fall, all that is set to change.
After two years of misdirection and obfuscation by Fauci and Congressional Democrats, Republicans could have an opportunity next year to restore integrity and transparency to our federal public health system. That starts with holding the nation’s unelected bureaucrats accountable – not just Dr. Fauci, but the entire army of permanent officials who too often seem to operate without answering to the American People.
Louis J. Senn is a lawyer living in Louisville, Kentucky. He previously served in the Trump administration.