Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) and Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) have called for a formal investigation into how a company linked to an illegal medical laboratory in Reedley, California, was able to secure nearly $150,000 in federal COVID funds.
Driving the news: The company, Universal Meditech Inc. (UMI), is linked to the illegal medical lab where around 20 infectious diseases, including COVID, were found, along with nearly 1000 bioengineered mice.
- UMI also operated in the nearby cities of Tulare and Fresno.
- The federal dollars were awarded in 2020 and 2021 under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and were later forgiven.
What they’re saying: Costa and McCarthy wrote in a letter to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, “Your attention to this matter is appreciated. We look forward to seeing the PRAC’s swift action to determine whether any wrongdoing has taken place, and if so, recover taxpayer dollars and seek appropriate punishment of the entity and individuals involved.”
- The situation has alarmed Costa and McCarthy, who are concerned that these illegal activities were reportedly sustained with federal taxpayer dollars intended to assist legitimate businesses as they worked to survive through a global pandemic.
- The illegal laboratory in Reedley has been the subject of ongoing investigation and legal action by local and federal authorities.