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