Dr. Paul Highlights Continued Executive Branch Obstruction Related to COVID-19 Origins Records

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, highlighted the failures of the federal records system and federal agencies’ refusal to cooperate with Congressional oversight requests. During a hearing titled “Reforming Federal Records Management for Greater Transparency and Accountability,” Dr. Paul spoke about the growing mistrust in federal agencies that ignore Congress and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), by constantly delaying and heavily redacting released information.

Dr. Paul discussed the government continuously obstructing his efforts to obtain crucial information regarding the origins of COVID-19. For the past four years, Dr. Paul has sent dozens of requests to various agencies requesting critical records, many of which are not classified, only to be met with blanket refusals to disclose thousands of relevant documents, and/or page-after-page of redacted documents.

View the Ranking Member’s opening statement here, part one of his questioning here and part two here.

Last year, Congress unanimously passed legislation declassifying all documents on the origins of COVID-19. Despite President Biden signing this bipartisan bill into law to release all documents, Congress only received an insufficient summary that members are forbidden from sharing with the public. The federal government’s continued refusal to share unclassified materials with the public, fuels mistrust that important information is being concealed from the public. The distrust only worsens when federal bureaucrats are blatant in their efforts to evade Congress and FOIA. Dr. Paul highlighted the unacceptable behavior of NIH’s Dr. David Morens, one of Dr. Fauci’s top advisors, who is accused of hiding from public oversight by improperly deleting COVID-19 origins materials and using his personal email. In order to prevent future catastrophic pandemics, Dr. Paul stressed the need to hold agencies accountable to Congressional oversight. 

Dr. Paul pointed out that the government’s pattern of evasion isn’t limited to Congress. During the hearing, Dr. Paul discussed the need to reform the public records system with witness Gary Ruskin, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the United States Right to Know (USRTK). Dr. Paul applauded USRTK’s efforts fighting for the disclosure of records by forcing the executive branch, if necessary, to comply through court orders. Throughout the discussion on ways to improve the broken records system, Dr. Paul called for a bipartisan effort to hold federal agencies responsible when they continue to ignore requests from both political parties. The importance of having a transparent public records system and bringing accountability back to the government is not a partisan issue, Dr. Paul stressed.