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More is being reported on Rick Perry's Crony Capitalists Pals and abuse of slush fund in the ongoing Cancer Research scandal.  This scandal has been developing and the more that is reported the dirtier it gets.  Article headlines at the Houston Chronicle give some idea:

Feb. 5, 2013: Legislators offer cancer agency reforms
Jan. 29: State cancer grant recipient shuts down
Jan. 10, 2013: Cancer foundation releases its donor list
Dec. 20: Legislators turn heat on cancer agency
Dec. 19: Senator seeks CPRIT reforms
Dec. 12: Salary idea paid off for cancer agency exec
Dec. 11: Leader of cancer agency resigns; state opens probe
Dec. 7: Cancer agency chair wants missing emails found
Dec. 5: Texas cancer agency leader comes under fire
Dec. 3: Group calls for federal inquiry into CPRIT
Nov. 30: Texas lawmakers demand answers from cancer agency
Nov. 29: Cancer agency admits rules were broken in $11 million grant
See also: Scientists Quit Texas Cancer Institute in Flap (a Nobel Laureate and thirty three others).

Previously:

Only In Texas could cancer research be considered a cash cow for venture capitalists and/or hedge fund managers.

Yes, indeed a fresh new crop of Rick Perry's hand picked crony foxes will replace the foxes who resigned from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas recently.  Call it the revolving door of Rick Perry's big donors and close friends whose financial generosity and loyalty will be rewarded by plum appointments that head state agencies and universities.
The latest:

CPRIT’S top grantee improperly spent $1.3 million, legislators told

Texas lawmakers were told Wednesday that he recipient of the biggest grant given by the state’s cancer-fighting agency (The Statewide Clinical Trials Network of Texas, or CTNeT, shut down last week after the state stopped advancing it money) had spent $1.3 million — or one-sixth of its taxpayer money — on nonallowable costs such as bonuses, moving expenses and honorariums for board members before it ceased operations.
Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas started in 2007 behind a push led by cancer survivor Lance Armstrong and Gov. Rick Perry, CPRIT spent most of its first five years basking in acclaim and industry awe of the unprecedented amount of taxpayer dollars committed to a state-run, cancer-fighting effort. Only the National Institutes of Health now doles out more cancer funding dollars than CPRIT, which has so far awarded nearly $700 million total.  

Also:

Panel Cancels Testimony on Cancer Agency

AUSTIN — Scheduled legislative appearances by two former top officials of the state cancer-fighting agency were canceled Wednesday because investigators looking into improprieties raised concerns the testimony could grant the ex-officials immunity.
[...]
Jim Pitts, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said invitations to Bill Gimson, former executive director of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and Dr. Alfred Gilman, its former chief scientific officer, were rescinded at the request of the Texas Attorney General's Office and the Travis County District Attorney's Office.
[...]
The state auditor last week released a damning audit, documenting problems with two major grants already reported by newspapers and identifying flaws and conflicts of interest with a third, $25 million grant to a statewide clinical trials network. That organization shut down last week with little to show for the $10 million it had spent.
Bottom Line:

Public testimony of CPRIT is suspended in order to protect a criminal investigation by those in charge who were party to the crime and appointed the panel.  

Jim Pitts, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said invitations to Bill Gimson, former executive director of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and Dr. Alfred Gilman, its former chief scientific officer, were rescinded at the request of the Texas Attorney General's Office and the Travis County District Attorney's Office.

Originally posted to DRo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:27 PM PST.

Also republished by Houston Area Kossacks and TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks This is a huge story (11+ / 0-)

    More people need to know about this scam.
    Its shocking how much money was stolen under the guise of cancer research.

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:04:35 PM PST

    •  There's lots more (12+ / 0-)

      on this. Unfortunately, it is such a twisted story with so many players it is difficult to summarize.

      The Houston Chronicle has done a good job covering this as it has unfolded.  From their editorial today:

      The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) was born in 2007, when voters endorsed issuing up to $3 billion in bonds "for research in Texas to find the causes and cures of cancer." We still believe that's worthy, important work.

      But CPRIT itself is clearly sick, a sick agency in need of radical treatment. In recent months, it's been rocked by the resignation of its chief science advisers, Nobel laureates Alfred Gilman and Philip Sharp, and more than 30 of the top-rank out-of-state researchers who served on its review panels. When scientists write, they're usually as dry as the periodic table. But in describing the behavior of CPRIT's administration and its politically appointed governing board, this outraged bunch is riveting: They use words like "cronyism," "hucksterism" and "really evil."

      In May, Gilman resigned over the rushed approval (since revoked) of an $18 million "commercialization" grant led by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Never mind that it was the largest single award given by the state; it was fast-tracked without scientific review. Its proposal was a puny six and a half pages. And it smelled of insider connections.

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:18:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I checked the donor list (10+ / 0-)

        In the article about donors and conflict of interests we see the usual suspects including pharmacy companies and Susan G Komen.  

        Texas needs to get the Feds involved perhaps the IRS

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:26:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lots of players here. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FarWestGirl, Lujane, NapaJulie

          I agree that this is a job for the FEDS. Texas will just keep covering it up.

          Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

          by DRo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:30:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's also a perfect example (4+ / 0-)

            of why states shouldn't be in the business of funding cancer research.  There are too many opportunities for corruption in an incredibly complex and vital field.  Heck, Texas had some of the best scientific peer review people you can get to oversee the scientific granting process and someone still stole millions from them.

            M.D. Anderson is also going to come out looking badly in this mess, as they deserve to.  So many of the big cancer centers have become too greedy at the cost of advancing good research.  Their "Moon Shots" program is a blatant rip off of efforts in the breast cancer advocacy community to set a deadline to end breast cancer.  

            I wonder if we should get someone to cross post your diary to the Monday Night Cancer Club group?  This is information that all cancer patients need to be aware of to better understand their role as patient advocates in the big picture.  

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:54:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  They have covered up so much the dirt stinks, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DRo

            From a decaying political body!

            Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

            by arealniceguy on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:10:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  But Perry and his goons won't let the feds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DRo

          in without a slug-out.

          •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

            Let's do it!  The Texas gang in charge all wear multiple hats in this mess.

            Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

            by DRo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:57:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  They have federal prosecutors in Texas, no? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DRo

            and federal judges, too.

            I'd like to take a look at the TX state auditor's report, if it's publicly available.  The IRS probably needs to look at it too.  

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 05:31:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here 'ya go... (0+ / 0-)

              https://www.documentcloud.org/...

              The report does not name names and point out conflicts of interest , political contributions, husbands and wives among the players, etc..  Papers and blogs have done a better job:

              Firedoglake:

              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.
              Dallas Morning News
              Auditors identified two members of CPRIT’s commercialization review council who had “business and professional relationships” with a grant recipient and applicants. The auditor’s office, as is typical with its practices, does not name them.
              One reviewer was a member of the board of directors for a grant recipient called the Statewide Clinical Trials Network of Texas, or CTNeT, which has offices in Dallas and Houston.
              CTNeT’s website identifies medical consultant Dr. Robert C. Young as a member of its board of directors. He also is listed on CPRIT’s website as a member of its commercialization review council.
              Young told The Dallas Morning News he is paid for both roles and sees no conflict.
              “In my view, they are totally unrelated,” he said.
              CPRIT awarded its largest grant, $25.2 million, to CTNeT in 2010, although the nonprofit was not even incorporated yet. Young said he was not on CTNeT’s board when the grant was awarded.
              Another reviewer worked as a consultant for two applicants for “incubator” grants, the audit says. Incubators are designed to link research and business opportunities.

              Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

              by DRo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 06:19:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you, very much! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DRo

                Glad FDL is covering this story, too.

                I've founded 3 different cancer related non-profits, one a basic 501c3, one a 501c4 and one a granting 501c3.  

                How the hell does someone get away with giving a grant to a non-profit that isn't incorporated?  You just can't, that's all.  I don't think the IRS grants tax exempt status retroactively.  That said, the more money a non-profit generates, the less likely they're subject to scrutiny.

                The business incubator things are a real scam from what I understand.  States are just pouring money down the drain with most of those.    And, as my non-profit attorney used to say, "never mix charity with business" ie its unethical to use that type of non-profit organization to enrich private enterprise. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it's wrong.  

                Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                by Betty Pinson on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:44:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Perry is inviting Californians over to Texas (6+ / 0-)

    Perhaps he could point to this cancer research scam as an example of opportunities available to venture capitalists.

    •  The opportunities are well known. (5+ / 0-)
      An examination into corporate incentives that has become standard operating procedure for state and local governments across the country, the New York Times takes a special look at Texas in: Lines Blur as Texas Gives Industries a Bonanza, and presents some startling numbers of of tax breaks and subsidies fostered by Rick Perry and his gang to corporations at the cost of limiting basic services to Texans. That article is worth a total read as it names names and connections.

      Rick Perry has made corporate recruitment a hallmark of his administration making frequent trips to lure prospective businesses while at the same time preaching austerity for the masses and cutting services to the population. Texas gave up more than $250 million in tax revenues to Amazon alone, in exchange for 2,500 jobs (amounts to about $100,000 per job. (for workers are paid $20,000 to $30,000 a year))  prior to a dispute and standoff with the state over sales tax collection. More about the actual jobs in the Times article.

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:28:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, well this has been a very slow drip (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, nomandates, Lujane

    of information and facts.  Only to Ricky's potential benefit, but I doubt it can be held secret forever.

    Wait for more drips, or shoes to drop, or whatever mixed metaphors suit.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:17:26 PM PST

  •  If GOP Perry's doing this you know other GOP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo

    state governors must be In On It also.  Damn!

    One thing I've noticed about all these GOP Governors, Perry, Walker, Scott etc., they all have 'drugged looking eyes'- manic-like...bizarre folks.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 02:22:42 AM PST

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