A conservative watchdog group filed a lawsuit seeking communications between Dr. Anthony Fauci and the World Health Organization in an effort to uncover whether China and the WHO could have done more to prevent the coronavirus pandemic.
Judicial Watch announced Monday it filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation against the Department of Health and Human Services.
The news organization had requested communications that Dr. Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, and his Deputy Director H. Clifford Lane have had with WHO officials about COVID-19 and about China, where the new coronavirus originated.
They also sought records related to communications about WHO official Bruce Aylward and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
After the records weren’t turned over by April 1, the groups filed the suit, noting Dr. Fauci had praised the WHO’s leadership in March, specifically Mr. Tedros, who is the first non-physician to head the organization.
In April, President Trump suspended funding to WHO, charging the agency put “political correctness over lifesaving measures.” He said China knew there was human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus as early as December and accused the WHO of being too “pro-China.”
“This virus has killed hundreds of thousands of people and turned the whole world upside down. We know that China and WHO could have done a lot more to prevent or reduce this catastrophe,” said Neil Patel, co-founder of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We therefore have a legitimate and urgent news purpose for seeking these documents regarding U.S. officials’ communications with WHO and demand that the agencies in question stop stalling and start following the law that entitles us to this vital information,” he added.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said that NIAID, Dr. Fauci’s agency, should provide transparency.
“It is of significant public interest to learn what WHO was telling our top medical officials about the coronavirus that originated in China,” Mr. Fitton said.