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COVID subcommittee chair asks top science journal editors to testify on relationship with federal government

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, issued letters to the editors of three major science journals on Tuesday, asking them to testify on the relationship between their publications and the federal government.

Wenstrup sent letters to the editors-in-chief of The Lancet, Science and Nature science journals requesting their testimony for a hearing on April 16. The hearing will be titled “Academic Malpractice: Examining the Relationship Between Scientific Journals, the Government, and Peer Review.”

In his letters, Wenstrup stated that the hearing would be to examine “whether these journals granted the federal government inappropriate access into the scientific review or publishing process.”

These journals were in contact with top White House health officials like Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins according to Freedom of Information Act requests, Wenstrup wrote. He did not cite any specific reports or studies in his letters to the editors-in-chief.

A search for research articles containing the term “COVID-19” on the websites of the three science journals results in nearly 19,000 results.

The Hill has reached out to The Lancet, Science and Nature for comment.

The select subcommittee has continued to bring in officials and experts who were active during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of the year, Fauci took part in two days of closed-door interviews with the subcommittee.

When reached for a comment, a spokesperson for Select Subcommittee Democrats said in a statement, “For more than a year, Select Subcommittee Republicans have relied on spurious conjecture to build an extreme, partisan, and conspiratorial narrative against our nation’s public health officials. Their probe—done so under the guise of investigating COVID’s origins—has failed to constructively advance our nation’s pandemic preparedness and public health.

“Nearly half a million pages of documents; more than a dozen transcribed interviews with current and former federal public health officials and researchers; and every COVID-19 origins hearing that we’ve had to date has in no way revealed a cover-up of the pandemic’s origins nor a suppression of the lab leak theory on the parts of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins. While the Majority continues its fishing expedition, Select Subcommittee Democrats will remain focused on forward-looking solutions that protect the American people’s health,” they added.

Updated at 6:26 pm.

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