S.C. attorney general leads call for investigation into China’s role in pandemic

S.C. attorney general leads call for investigation into China’s role in pandemic
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and 17 other state attorneys general are calling for a Congressional investigation into China's role in the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s attorney general sent a letter cosigned by 16 other attorneys general calling for Congress to launch a probe into China’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney General Alan Wilson sent a letter Friday to the leadership of the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other House and Senate leaders asking for a Congressional investigation.

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

“Recent reports suggest that the communist Chinese government willfully and knowingly concealed information about the severity of the virus while simultaneously stockpiling personal protective equipment,” Wilson wrote. “In what Secretary of State Pompeo has described as a ‘classic communist disinformation effort,’ the Chinese government, aided by the World Health Organization, appears to have intentionally misled the world over the last six months.”

The state Attorney General’s Office cites the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus at nearly 80,000 and the unemployment rate caused by the pandemic’s economic impact at 14.7 percent.

“The Chinese government’s mishandling and deliberate deception has caused death and hardship for millions of Americans,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle said. “Republican attorneys general, as chief legal officers of their respective states, want to hold China accountable for its actions.”

Wilson said one of his colleagues, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, has already filed suit against China. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced her decision also to file a lawsuit holding China accountable. Wilson said "many of us are considering similar legal actions.”

“Congressional hearings are critical to our nation’s understanding of the origins of COVID-19 and efforts by the communist Chinese government to deceive the international community," Wilson said.

Besides South Carolina, attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia also signed the letter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story listed a total of 18 states. The attorney general’s office has since advised that Tennessee, which was listed in their original release, did not sign the letter.

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