Biden pressed on $500M funding request for politically connected nonprofit group
- June 16, 2022
Andrew Kerr, Washington Examiner
EXCLUSIVE — The ranking Republican members of four House committees are asking the Biden administration to justify its request to dole out $500 million to a foreign nonprofit group with close ties to a high-ranking administration official.
A key Health and Human Services official in charge of coordinating the agency’s COVID-19 response, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell, was the U.S. director of the Norway-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations before she joined the Biden administration in January 2021. CEPI is now slated to receive $500 million from President Joe Biden’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget, through no apparent bidding process, to support affordable COVID-19 vaccine development.
Protect the Public’s Trust, the federal watchdog group that first flagged Biden’s CEPI funding request, hailed the lawmakers for pressing the administration for more information about the contract.
“The American public is naturally skeptical of the revolving door between federal service and powerful special interests,” PPT Director Michael Chamberlain, a former Trump administration official, told the Washington Examiner. “The circumstances around the planned infusion of a half-billion in taxpayer funds to an organization with ties to high-ranking political appointees, apparently without a competitive bidding process, represents the poster child for what they are skeptical of.”