TX: Wendy Davis Links Greg Abbott to Cancer Institute Scandal

by Libby Shaw, Daily Kos –

By Carolyn Shore Aresu as Libby Shaw

Wendy_Davis_2013_jpegWendy Davis implicated Greg Abbott in the CPRIT scandal. As the top cop on the oversight beat at the time, the Attorney General turned a blind eye to the pillaging of public money at CPRIT. Indeed, the Institute awarded generous grants to some of Greg Abbott’s donor cronies.

Cross posted on Texas Kaos.

In 2007 Texas voters approved funding for a state-run cancer research institute, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). The Institute’s top priority included research that would result in cures and prevention therapies for most forms of cancer. The Institute hired Nobel Laureate scientists to accomplish the mission.

But alas in the crony capitalist Republican state of Texas political influences interfered with CPRIT’s  noble mission.  A struggle took place between the goals of the scientists and political appointees who were more interested in commercialization. For them research takes too long and does not generate fast money or instant gratification.  Worse, the political appointees intended to play by the rules of the private sector despite the fact the Institute’s $3 billion dollars were public funds.  Let oversight, vetting and review be damned.  Naturally many of the top scientists resigned when they learned an $11 million grant had been awarded without proper review. They soon realized CPRIT would serve as a cash cow for the political appointees.

The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT, for short) is the most recent to come under fire. Last week, Progress Texas PAC called on the Texas Public Integrity Unit and Travis County District Attorney to investigate the management of CPRIT and Perry’s other major funds. Governor Perry was quick to lash out and call the scrutiny the work of “conspiracy theorists” — but only hours later, news broke that CPRIT awarded an $11 million grant contract without the required review. At the end of the week, it was discovered that CPRIT e-mails about the questionable contract were missing, prompting further calls for investigations. This is the latest in an ongoing scandal that has involved Nobel Laureates quitting and scores of staff resignations.

As the state’s Attorney General Greg Abbott served on CPRIT’s oversight board.  He was the top cop in charge.  But did Greg Abbott do anything to punish those who awarded grants without proper review?  Of course he didn’t.

Why would Greg Abbott do nothing?  It could be because CPRIT awarded $42 million to his donor cronies.

Since 2001, Greg Abbott has received nearly half a million dollars in campaign contributions from a handful of individuals who are connected to CPRIT. Companies connected to the Abbott contributors have in turn received $42,800,861 in grants from CPRIT.

Knowing that his negligence could lead to some potential illegalities or at the least, become politically embarrassing for Greg Abbott, the Attorney General called for an investigation of CPRIT.  Of course this conflict of interest alone is staggering, but hey welcome to Rick Perry’s cesspool of crony capitalist Texas where a little ol’ conflict of interest can’t hurt anybody.

Right. A private, independent investigation would not allow for a little hiding, deleting, “losing” hard drives, stalling or obstruction.  Greg Abbott’s investigation of himself and CPRIT is a joke.  It reminds me N.J. Governor Chris Christi’s Bridge Gate investigation.  Of course his hand-picked allies and loyalists found the Governor guilty of nothing.  These Republican politicians are so blinded by power that they no longer know when they cross lines that should never be crossed.

Greg Abbott’s investigation has been going on for six months but little has been released to the public.  It seems that the Attorney General has gone into hiding again.   The bright lights of scrutiny and transparency don’t sit well with Republican politicians like Rick Perry and his clone Greg Abbott.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos