Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.

Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 22, 2020

No evidence tying Bill Gates to a $100 billion COVID-19 deal before the outbreak

If Your Time is short

  • 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."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

We could find no evidence to back up the claim.

Conspiracy traces to Rwanda

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.

Featured Fact-check

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.

The TRACE Act

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.

Our ruling

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.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

No evidence tying Bill Gates to a $100 billion COVID-19 deal before the outbreak

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up