Your tax dollars paid to put cats on a treadmill in Russia and purchase puppy parts at wet markets ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

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Dear Friend –

Should the federal government keep track of your tax dollars spent in China and Russia?       

Let me know what you think:

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Your tax dollars paid to put cats on a treadmill in Russia and purchase puppy parts at wet markets in China. 

No one in Washington can actually account for how else or how much of your money is being sent to Russia and China—or anywhere else—for pointless projects like these.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) attempted to tally the total amount of U.S. tax dollars paid to organizations located in China over the past five years and counted at least $48 million.
Suspiciously absent from GAO’s round up of checks for China was the money that made its way to the notorious Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). That’s because GAO could only verify the amounts given directly to an organization from a U.S. government agency.

A shady passthrough organization, EcoHealth Alliance, funneled nearly $2 million of U.S. taxpayer money to the state-run Chinese lab to pay for the dangerous experiments on bat coronaviruses which may have been the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included $1.1 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and another $6000,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Nearly $2 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars were secretly funneled into China’s state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology by a shady passthrough organization to conduct dangerous experiments on bat coronaviruses.

Despite being required by law to make these receipts available to the public on the website, EcoHealth tried to cover its tracks by intentionally not disclosing the amounts of taxpayer money being paid to WIV, which went unnoticed for years!

With the help of the Congressional Research Service and Open the Books, I was able to determine that more than $490 million of taxpayer money was paid to organizations in China the last five years. That’s ten times more than GAO’s estimate! Over $870 million was paid to entities in Russia during the same period! Together that adds up to more than $1.3 billion paid to our adversaries.

But again, these numbers still do not represent the total dollar amounts paid to institutions in China or Russia since those numbers are not tracked and the information that is being collected is incomplete.

They got away with it because government agencies are not tracking where taxpayer money ends up after it is passed down in the form of “subawards.” The information that is being collected is often incomplete and inaccurate and GAO says the problem is “a government-wide issue.”

We must fix this. Washington needs to stop losing track of your money! Taxpayers deserve transparency.

When my friends at the White Coat Waste Project followed the trail of tax dollars to Russia and exposed how it was being spent, U.S. funding for all labs in Russia was canceled, and the cat on a treadmill project was put where it belongs, in the litter box.

Taxpayers have a right to know how their hard-earned dollars are being spent so they can hold Washington accountable. For failing to keep a better accounting of your money, I am giving my May 2023 Squeal Award to the Department of Treasury.


Bizarre studies, like putting cats on a treadmill, were paid for with the nearly $1 million sent to a state-run lab in Russia by NIH.

And to ensure you know why and how much of you hard-earned cash may be given to China or Russia, I am introducing the Tracking Receipts to All Countries for Knowledge of Spending (TRACKS) Act that would require every penny from a government grant paid to any organization in those countries be tracked and publicly disclosed. 

Squeal Award: The Department of Treasury


For more updates on what's happening in Washington, D.C. and Iowa, be sure to 'Like' my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SenJoniErnst, and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Thank you!