How much money did Peter Daszak's nonprofit get paid for laundering a federal grant for gain of function research in Wuhan?
Even though Dr. Anthony Fauci vehemently denies that any federal money was paid to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for gain of function research, Senator Rand Paul accuses him of lying and has hard evidence:
"There's a famous scientist in the Wuhan lab, her name is Dr. Shi [Zhengli], and she published a paper a couple years ago which has been reviewed by MIT, and says that it's a gain-of-function research," Paul said. "But in the byline, she has to list the sponsors. She lists Dr. Fauci and the NIAID as a sponsor of her research, which everybody acknowledges [is] gain-of-function research, juicing up these superviruses. So, I don't know how you get around this."
The federal funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology first passed through the hands of a nonprofit organization headed by Peter Daszak, Ph.D., the Eco Health Alliance. This troubles me quite a bit, and I have a couple of basic questions about the arrangement.
First of all, why was an intermediary involved in channeling the money? When a third party is used to disguise the origins of funds, this is usually called "money-laundering." Some have alleged that Daszak's organization was used to evade federal restrictions on funding gain of function research, which makes existing viruses even more dangerous, as appears to have happened with the COVID-19 virus, a modified version of a virus found in bats. In terms used by law enforcement when investigating illicit money flows, the third party is often called a "cutout."
Weren't the federal funds supplied to the Wuhan lab an example of money laundering? If not, why not? And wasn't the Eco Health Alliance functioning as a cutout? Why was its role even necessary? Can't the federal government make such grants directly?
The second basic question derives from the first. How much money (if any) did Eco Health Alliance and its president, Peter Daszak, receive for their role as a cutout (or if you prefer, "intermediary")? If it received a substantial sum, why? What value did it add, aside from evading funding restrictions on gain of function research?
I have no direct evidence, but an examination of the Eco Health Alliance's IRS Form 990 — the public reporting document required of all nonprofits — for the years 2018 and 2019 suggests that it might have received a very large sum indeed.
Here is the relevant section of the 2019 Form 990 of the Eco Health Alliance (the entire form is available here):
Notice that well under half of the $17,703,253 (line 8) that the organization received in grants (presumably a substantial portion of which came from the federal government) was paid out as grants to other entities (such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology). The $6,816, 476 (line 13) paid out is just over 38.5% of the funds received. The money paid out to staff at the Eco Health Alliance, $6,060,055 (line 15), is just over 34% of total revenues, in the same ballpark as the grants paid out. Details of compensation show a very well paid staff for a nonprofit, with Daszak topping $400,000 total compensation (pretty close to what Dr. Fauci receives as the highest-paid federal employee):
So what did Daszak and others at his nonprofit receive for serving as cutouts and laundering the money?
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