There's been a scandal brewing for some time regarding the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). See a report at firedoglake a year ago after it became clear the agency, which was created to fund cancer research in Texas, was redirecting millions to GOP donors:
Republican Gov. Rick Perry and his cronies in and out of public office have diverted funds intended for cutting-edge cancer research into the campaign pockets of Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. You read that right. Proceeds from millions in taxpayer-backed bonds awarded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) have fallen victim to corruption and cronyism. Cronies get the state money; the cronies give some of the money back to Perry and others.Today a Former high-ranking official at Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas indicted on felony charge
The agency might better be named the Crony Capitalist Research Institute as searches for cancer prevention, treatment and cure are sacrificed to the feeble political ambitions of a few petty politicians and greedy plutocrats. It is hard to imagine a greater moral failing. Unless, of course, you remember that Perry and his cronies are the very same people fighting against the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. People are going to get sick and die because of the actions of Perry and others. That is not hyperbole or political spin.
AUSTIN — A former high-ranking official of Texas’ cancer-fighting agency was indicted on a state felony in connection with a $11 million grant to a Dallas-based biotechnology firm, prosecutors announced Friday. Jerald “Jerry” Cobbs is accused of securing execution of a document by deception. State law prohibits a person from causing another to sign a document affecting a financial interest.[...]Additionally, Abbott's role at cancer agency under fire.
The indictment by a Travis County grand jury could be a major blow to CPRIT and Gov. Rick Perry if Cobbs is convicted.
CPRIT is considered one of Perry’s signature accomplishments. Corruption in an agency that the governor championed could shadow Perry on the presidential campaign trail if he seeks the GOP nomination for President in 2016.
In the more than four years he served on the state cancer agency's governing board, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott exercised no oversight as the agency made misstep after misstep in awarding tens of millions of dollars to commercial interests.Cobbs’ indictment came six months after Perry used a line-item veto to take away state funding for the Public Integrity Unit because Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg wouldn’t resign. See more at http://watchdogblog.dallasnews.com/...
"It turns out that Abbott sitting on the oversight board was a green light rather than a caution sign," wrote Matt Angle, director of the Lone Star Project, a Democratic political action committee. "Businesses backed by Abbott contributors - many of whom are partisan Republicans - have received large grants and contracts from CPRIT without fear of any oversight at all."
The attorney general's minimalist scrutiny of the cancer institute did not draw much attention when the Legislature lit into the agency during the regular session, but now that he is running for governor it is becoming a significant campaign issue.
This indictment could lend a boost to Wendy Davis' run for govenor against Greg Abbott, because of his involvement. And there may be more to come.