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Burr, Paul, Cruz Launch Oversight of National Science Foundation

Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched a new oversight investigation into potential waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars by the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

The members announced the probe in a letter sent today to the NSF requesting more information about the agency’s strategic budget plan, grant review and award process, and potential conflicts of interest.

“We have a growing concern that tens of millions of dollars have and continue to be spent [by the National Science Foundation] on studies of questionable value. While not all of these studies are obvious wastes of taxpayer dollars, many still raise major concerns about the importance of your agency’s mission,” the Senators write.

“These concerns are compounded when NSF funds research projects with a particular political bent,” the Senators continue. “While NSF enjoys independent status in order to protect the agency’s scientific mission, grants such as these call into question the NSF’s impartiality and whether the agency considers it is appropriate to fund projects leveraged for political advocacy.”

The Senators conclude, “We live in a time where most Americans are trying to make ends meet to put food on the table and gas in the cars, meanwhile our government agencies seem to be spending money frivolously on a wish list of special interest research projects. Given these concerns, we are beginning an oversight investigation into NSF’s grant-making processes.” 

To read the full letter click here.