Probe of can­cer agency grows

Fo­cus falls on re­lated foun­da­tion that sup­ports can­cer agency’s op­er­a­tions.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Lay­lan Copelin lcopelin@states­man.com In­ves­ti­ga­tion

Scru­tiny of the state’s can­cer-fight­ing agency is ex­pand­ing to a re­lated foun­da­tion whose undis­closed donors un­der­write the agency’s op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing sup­ple­ment­ing salaries of the agency’s top two ex­ec­u­tives and help­ing pay for sci­en­tific re­views of grant ap­pli­ca­tions.

“You can’t avoid look­ing at the foun­da­tion if you are look­ing at the agency,” State Au­di­tor John Keel said of his up­com­ing au­dit of the trou­bled agency that is also be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by At­tor­ney Gen- eral Greg Ab­bott and Travis County pros­e­cu­tors.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the Can­cer Preven­tion and Re­search In­sti­tute of Texas cen­ter on ques­tions sur­round­ing two grant ap­pli­ca­tions that got lit­tle or no re­view and al­le­ga­tions that other awards might have been in­flu­enced by pol­i­tics. But Jerry Strick­land, Ab­bott’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion wouldn’t be lim­ited to just that.

The Can­cer Preven­tion and Re­search In­sti­tute of Texas Foun­da­tion, cre­ated in 2009, de­nies a “pay to play” sys­tem has evolved be­tween foun­da­tion donors and state agency grant re­cip­i­ents. But it is closely linked to the can­cer agency, shar­ing the name of

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