Federal authorities have so far refused to respond to Congress regarding information surrounding the secret Reedley biologics lab.
Congress, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) called for in a Fresno visit last month, is ramping up its investigation into the lab could soon subpoena federal authorities.
The backstory: Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup sent letters to the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services last month requesting information on Prestige Biotech, the company owned by Chinese nationals that operated the Reedley lab.
- Wenstrup requested any documents and communications from the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the lab but have not received them yet.
Driving the news: Late last week Wenstrup sent a follow up letter to both organizations once again requesting all documents and communications regarding Prestige Biotech.
- If the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services fail to comply with the request again, Wenstrup is threatening to subpoena them for the information.
- The committee is specifically requesting all information that the FBI had with other federal, state or local government entities, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, Fresno County and Reedley.
- In addition to those requests, the committee is asking the Department of Health and Human Services for all communications it had with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
What they’re saying: “To properly carry-out the Select Subcommittee’s missions, including assessing the government’s ability to keep America safe from biological threats and assessing legislative solutions regarding biosafety and biosecurity, we must have the full cooperation of federal agencies,” Wenstrup wrote. “If the Department fails to comply with our legitimate oversight requests, we will be forced to evaluate the use of the compulsory process.”
- Wenstrup has set a deadline for the departments to respond by Sep. 14, after which Congress could move to subpoena.