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CPRIT to Review Grants Despite Moratorium

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The Cancer Research and Prevention Institute of Texas, known as CPRIT, is moving forward with its oversight committee’s grant-vetting process.

That’s despite a lockout by the state legislature that’s holding up nearly $182 million in funding to cancer-fighting organizations.

The institute’s interim executive director, Wayne Roberts, said CPRIT will keep moving ahead with reviewing nearly 300 grants, with hope that the state will lift the allocation ban.

“We will not go so far that they cannot be halted," Roberts said. "We will not be signing on the dotted line, so to speak, until the Legislature has decided what it wants done with the moratorium.”

The agency's senior financial advisor, and former Deputy Comptroller, Billy Hamilton said that the grants are in a critical stage, when the agency works to determine potential conflicts of interest between the cancer-fighting agencies and CPRIT. 

Hamilton added that this process may require more employees in the future, as many as 5 to 7, for assistance in the legal department, grant verification and administrative positions.

“I’m all for limited government,” Hamilton said. “But I’m not all for valiant, but unrealistic government."

The employees could help review the nearly 300 grants the agency plans to review in the hopes that state lawmakers will lift the moratorium on its grant-funding powers.

Late last year, the state halted the 3-billion-dollar state-funded cancer research agency’s ability to grant funding after allegations of conflicts of interest and a criminal investigation by the Travis County District Attorney.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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