CPRIT stinks, Abbott’s role needs scrutiny

“Gone are the large conferences, big pharma funding, Nobel laureates and lavishly paid state officials who vowed scientific breakthroughs from Texas’ unprecedented $3 billion crusade against cancer,” the Associated Press reports.

Listeners remember that I was among the first to ring alarm bells about this CPRIT scheme correctly predicting where it would lead even before voters agreed to create it. And, I was the first to note the out-of-control arrogant nature of the CPRIT board when it began forcing university regents to adopt its tobacco policies on campuses across the state – true mission-creep.

“What’s left of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas isn’t flashy, but that’s precisely the goal for an agency regaining its footing after a year of turmoil and an ongoing a criminal investigation,” AP goes on to report. “…A Texas grand jury is still weighing criminal charges against former officials, and rebukes from some of the nation’s top researchers have sullied the agency’s reputation. But CPRIT, like the cancer patients it was created to help, is getting a second chance.”

And my friends, this is a second chance that shouldn’t be. CPRIT was a terrible idea from the beginning and proved opponents correct that putting huge sums of taxpayer money in the hands of a few people would result in the same mission-creep and corruption such actions always do.

Sadly Governor Perry and other state officials ballyhooed this effort despite it being a purely socialist model of how to fund and lead research efforts. The Houston Chronicle has pointed out that gubernatorial hopeful and current attorney general, Greg Abbott, served on the CPRIT oversight board and “exercised no oversight as the agency made misstep after misstep in awarding tens of millions of dollars to commercial interests.” The paper also pointed out that “some of the agency’s most questionable grants went to companies affiliated with some of Abbott’s major donors.”

This is an issue reeking of classic political corruption and needs scrutiny to learn from where the stench emanates. It should not be ignored by Republican voters.

© Pratt on Texas / Perstruo Texas, Inc.