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There’s no evidence Gates worked with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush on a $100 billion COVID-19 contact tracing bill months before the COVID-19 outbreak occurred.
The bill proposed by Rush would give money not to Gates or his foundation but to organizations that provide COVID-19 testing, contact tracing or other services.
An article shared widely on Facebook claims a COVID-19 conspiracy with this headline:
"Six Months Before The Covid Plandemic, Bill Gates Had Negotiated A $100 Billion Contact Tracing Deal With Democratic Congressman Sponsor Of Bill."
We could find no evidence to back up the claim.
The term "plandemic" became widely known in May from a 26-minute conspiracy video called, "Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind COVID-19." It was viewed tens of millions of times before YouTube and Facebook removed it. We fact-checked eight of the most misleading claims in the video, which is a deep dive into conspiracy theories about COVID-19, public health and figures such as Gates.
The claim we’re checking here is from an article shared from the website of Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch. That article is actually an excerpt of an article by conservative website TruePundit.
Both articles cite an interview given by private investigators John Moynihan and Larry Doyle on a TruePundit podcast in which the investigators said that representatives from the Gates Foundation met with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., in Rwanda, East Africa, in mid August 2019 "to hash out who would score the windfall from a government contact tracing program." The article points out that, in May, Rush introduced the $100 billion Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act to fight the coronavirus.
Our searches of Google and Nexis turned up no reports of a meeting in Rwanda between Rush and the Gates Foundation.
A philanthropic organization interested in issues of global health and education, the Gates Foundation has pledged millions of dollars to companies developing potential novel coronavirus vaccines. But there is no evidence that the foundation stands to profit from these efforts.
Moynihan and Doyle previously claimed to have found financial wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation. But when appearing before a House hearing in December 2018, they refused to submit what they said were 6,000 pages of documents.
As we’ve reported, the Trace Act was introduced by Rush in May. It would provide $100 billion in grants in the current fiscal year to faith-based organizations, clinics, medical centers and other organizations that perform testing for COVID–19, do contact tracing or provide services for individuals who are isolating at home.
Contact tracing is a process that tasks public health workers with learning as much as they can about whom an infected patient has been in contact with, so they can be notified about their potential exposure.
The bill stands a 4% chance of passage, according to a service used by GovTrack.us., which tracks federal legislation.
The Gates Foundation sent PolitiFact this response: "This claim is false."
We didn’t get replies from the two investigators or from Rush.
An article shared widely on Facebook claimed: "Six months before the COVID ‘plandemic,’ Bill Gates had negotiated a $100 billion contact tracing deal with (the) Democratic congressman sponsor of bill."
There is no evidence of Gates collaborating on the bill, which would provide $100 billion to faith-based organizations, clinics, medical centers and other organizations that perform COVID-19 testing, conduct contact tracing or provide services for individuals who are isolating at home.
We rate the statement False.
Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch, "Six Months Before The Covid Plandemic, Bill Gates Had Negotiated A $100 Billion Contact Tracing Deal With Democratic Congressman Sponsor Of Bill" (archived here), June 14, 2020
PolitiFact, "Claim that federal contact tracing bill is not for COVID-19 is false," May 15, 2020
USA Today, "Fact check: Bill Gates did not craft contact tracing bill," May 27, 2020
Email, media relations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, June 19, 2020
TruePundit.com, Thomas Paine podcast (2:01:00), June 14, 2020
Washington Examiner, "Oversight panel hearing on Clinton Foundation blows up," Dec. 13, 2018
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