The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader
United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Cc: Rep. Steny Hoyer; Rep. Steve Scalise; Sen. Dick Durbin; Sen. John Thune; Chief of Staff Mike Meadows
We, the undersigned 15 organizations, representing millions of taxpayers and consumers across the United States, call on Congress to hold hearings and conduct a full investigation on the failures of the taxpayer-funded World Health Organization (WHO) in addressing the rise of COVID-19. As a part of this investigation, lawmakers must fully examine the WHO’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the deaths that could have been prevented had the outbreak not been mismanaged. We further call on U.S. officials to prioritize working with private companies and industry which have proven themselves willing and able to step up to fight this pandemic, as opposed to funding a failed, corrupt bureaucracy.
It is a point of fact that when the COVID-19 outbreak began in China, the CCP responded by attempting to cover up the crisis and silence doctors, journalists, and whistleblowers who tried to warn the public. One of the first people to warn the world was the late Chinese ophthalmologist Li Wenliang who told his medical colleagues in December about cases that seemed suspiciously similar to the 2002 SARS outbreak. Chinese security police promptly put Dr. Li and 7 other medical professionals under investigation for “spreading rumors,” and retaliatory actions escalated from there. Less than a week after warning his fellow doctors about COVID-19, the leader of this alleged “conspiracy” was hauled before the security police and accused of "making false comments" that had "severely disturbed the social order.” Meanwhile authorities swiftly censored all information about the Coronavirus outbreak on social media and suppressed all news stories that exposed the dire circumstances in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Despite the ongoing cover-up and warning signs from the international community, the WHO praised the CCP for its “transparency” and “leadership.” Under pressure from the CCP the WHO first denied that human-to-human transmission of the virus was possible, then refused to declare a public health emergency in mid-January, saying it “might spook the world further.” The WHO also delayed sending an advance party into China until February 10, and attacked proposals to institute travel bans as racist. In fact, the Director-General of the WHO went so far as to personally commend Xi Jinping’s “political commitment” and “political leadership” in dealing with coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, senior officials gushed with praise noting that the “Chinese people feel protected.”
There can be no question that the WHO’s actions resulted in the spread of the virus. Had the WHO been truthful with the world, measures would have been put in place to stem the tide of the pandemic, with critical supply manufacture, widespread testing and research having commenced significantly earlier and saved countless lives. The WHO’s failures cost the world desperately needed weeks that could have been spent preparing and mitigating the substantial loss of life.
Moreover, China worked “tirelessly behind the scenes” in lobbying to ensure the election of Dr. Tedros who previously served in the government of the Marxist and violently repressive Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. This gruesome movement was responsible for gross human right abuses, such as torture, repression, and electoral fraud. During his tenure as health minister, Dr. Tedros was most known to have covered up three cholera outbreaks.
Additionally, the WHO’s continued refusal to recognize Taiwan due to CCP pressure not only hurts the Taiwanese but also prevents the world from learning from their successes. This farcical position was best exposed when WHO Official Bruce Aylward, frequently cited in Chinese State Media Propaganda, shamefully refused to answer questions about Taiwan in a call with a reporter. It is also telling that Dr. Tedros’ first press statement after his election as Director-General was to say the WHO would never recognize Taiwan.
This is simply part of a long pattern of failure by the WHO of putting political considerations above human lives. When the Ebola outbreak occurred in West Africa, leaked emails revealed that WHO leadership refused to classify it a public health emergency for months for political reasons as it may “anger” the leaders of African countries involved by harming tourism, despite senior directors been aware of the gravity of the situation. By the time the WHO took action, nearly 1,000 people were already dead. Overall, more than 10,000 are thought to have died in the year since the outbreak was announced.
In addition to demonstrating how the WHO places political considerations above people’s lives, WHO leadership exudes a culture of luxury travel and wasteful spending. Dr. Aylward, the WHO official who refuses to talk about Taiwan spent more than $400,000 in travel during his tenure mismanaging the Ebola outbreak as he demanded private helicopters and refused to travel by jeep on “muddy roads” at a time when doctors working on the ground “couldn’t even afford basics like protective boots, gloves and soap.” The WHO spends $200 million a year on travel — far more than what it spends on fighting Hepatitis, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, with first class travel and $1,000 a night hotel rooms. In fact, the WHO spends $28,500 per employee per year on travel. In contrast, Doctors Without Borders spends just $1,162 per employee per year.
Other structural flaws within the WHO are actively undermining their COVID-19 response. The radically anti-business “Framework For Engagement With Non-State Actors” discourages partnering with private sector companies and organizations with numerous items on meeting agendas attacking free enterprise as a problem and discouraging attempts to partner with productive businesses.
This is the exact opposite of the approach the international community should be taking. Similarly, the WHO’s attacks on intellectual property rights is downright detrimental to the race to develop a vaccine and cure for the virus. The CCP has boasted of its WHO takeover. In 2017, the CCP it signed an agreement with the WHO for its “One Belt, One Road” initiative, co-chaired the China-Africa Health Ministers Conference, and hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation during which the CCP pledged $8.8 billion to developing countries “to improve people’s well-being worldwide.”
A congressional investigation would uncover the full extent of the corrupt relationship between the WHO and the CCP and have the ability to examine the history of WHO failures. An investigation would help ensure such a tragedy does not repeat itself and potentially free up $500 million a year in taxpayer funding that could be put to better use. In the meantime, we call on all legislators to work with the private sector and cease funding bureaucrats with a proven track-record of failure.
Thank you and we strongly urge you to support this inquiry.
Mario H. Lopez
Carrie L. Lukas
Heather R. Higgins
Seton Motley President
Fred Cyrus Roeder Managing Director Consumer Choice Center
Lorenzo Montanari Executive Director Property Rights Alliance
James L. Martin, Founder/Chairman Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President
George Landrith President