US taxpayers may have paid twice for grants used to fund coronavirus research in Wuhan feared to have started the pandemic.
Diane Cutler, chief investigator of health policy at the United States Senate, found evidence that points to ‘potential theft of Government funds’.
Documents seen by CBS News suggest that the US Government may have paid twice for experiments carried out at the Wuhan lab, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Congressional hearings on the origins of Covid-19 have brought the lab-leak theory back to the fore.
The FBI and Energy Department recently declared that an accidental lab leak from the lab is plausible.
The US Government might have paid twice for things such as medical supplies, equipment, travel and salaries in the Wuhan lab
Documents suggest the Wuhan Institute of Virology double-billed the US Government for its experiments
Dr Peter Daszak (left), president of EcoHealth Alliance, pictured with Dr Anthony Fauci (right)
Ms Cutler, was looking into US Government grants that supported coronavirus-related research in China in the lead up to the pandemic.
Republican Sen. Roger Marshall hired Ms Cutler and presented her records to USAID and its internal watchdog, who started an investigation of their own.
Documents, seen by CBS News, suggest that the US Government may have paid twice for experiments carried out at the Wuhan lab, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ms Cutler looked at more than 50,000 documents, showing potential double payments for things such as medical supplies, equipment, travel and salaries.
She told CBS News: ‘What I’ve found so far is evidence that points to double billing, potential theft of Government funds’.
‘It is concerning, especially since it involves dangerous pathogens and risky research.’
Ms Cutler added that the full investigation could take up to six months.
Sources told CBS News that the overpayments could be worth tens of millions of dollars.
DailyMail.com has contacted the USAID for comment.
The revelation has brought into questions how closely the Government was keeping an eye on the research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) lab.
Last week, the nonprofit at the center of Covid lab leak questions today doubled down on its claim it’s just a ‘coincidence’ the virus emerged in the city it funded risky research.
EcoHealth Alliance, based in New York City, defended its ties to the Wuhan facility after Congress heard damning testimony from top scientists who pointed to mounting evidence the virus was man-made.
EcoHealth – which is headed by the controversial scientist and friend of Dr Anthony Fauci, Dr Peter Daszak – directed millions of US taxpayer dollars to the lab to fund dangerous coronavirus research before the pandemic hit.
In a reactive statement released while the explosive hearing was still taking place, the non-profit said: ‘[The] “strongest pieces of evidence” for a laboratory origin also fail to stand up to scrutiny.’
EcoHealth gave $3.3million from the NIH to the WIV to perform risky research on bat coronaviruses before the pandemic hit.
During this time, Dr Fauci presided over the NIAID — a part of the NIH.
At the end of 2019, the virus that would eventually spark a global pandemic emerged in Wuhan with early cases linked to a seafood market just eight miles away from the WIV.
Top scientific advisors told Congress last week there is mounting evidence Covid leaked from the Wuhan lab and accused Dr Anthony Fauci of trying to cover up the claims because they didn’t fit his narrative.
Experts, including a former Biden staffer and Donald Trump’s CDC director, testified to the House subcommittee investigating Covid that taxpayer-funded gain-of-function likely caused the virus that came from the Chinese facility.
Dr Jamie Metzl, a self-identified Democrat who worked for President Biden when he was in the Senate, said he favored the lab leak theory because ‘the Chinese government has done everything in its power’ to stonewall investigations.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan also tore into Dr Anthony Fauci for ‘trying to cover his backside’ over the lab leak claims, and Trump’s CDC director Robert Redfield claimed the Biden Covid advisor ignored his concerns because ‘they wanted a single narrative and I had a different point of view.’