“Wasteful” NIH-funded animal experiments have come under fire for alleged violations of federal spending transparency law, according to a scathing new letter addressed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) demanding an immediate investigation into the lack of federal mandated disclosure of the involvement of taxpayers’ money in “bizarre” experiments, some of which include taxpayer-funded marijuana monkey tests.
In a letter provided exclusively to Breitbart News ahead of its public release, taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project (WCW) penned a letter to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Division of Program Integrity Director Deborah Kearse demanding an investigation into “widespread violations of federal spending transparency law” by the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) related to its NIH-funded experiments on primates at their National Primate Research Center.
Government “Monkey Business”
In an exclusive statement to Breitbart News accompanying the letter, WCW Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy Justin Goodman slammed the NIH for “secretive and stupid spending.”
“The NIH is addicted to spending, and getting primates high on weed is just the latest example of government monkey business uncovered by WCW,” he said, adding that the group has previously “shut down taxpayer-funded nicotine and angel dust experiments on primates” while calling for “marijuana experiments on monkeys” to be terminated as well.
He also called for the “rogue labs” to be “held accountable for their secretive and stupid spending and for repeatedly breaking federal law designed to let taxpayers know how their money is being spent.”
The letter, which was written on behalf of its more than three million members and supporters, calls attention to an Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) press release last month describing “taxpayer-funded experiments on macaques in which the monkeys were given daily doses of THC edibles to study the effect on the primates’ fertility and testes size.”
The report followed a similar one from July concerning the “impact of THC edibles on female monkeys’ menstrual cycles.”
“A review of federal research databases shows that the NIH grants listed as funding sources on the published papers received over $14 million in their most recent funding year alone,” the letter claimed.
Federal Spending Transparency Violations
The letter also slammed the lab’s failure to comply with transparency and accountability in federal spending.
“As you are aware, long-standing federal spending transparency law—known as the Stevens Amendment—requires that any press releases or statements describing taxpayer-funded projects under the Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services (HHS) must include, ‘(1) the percentage of the total costs of the program or project which will be financed with Federal money; (2) the dollar amount of Federal funds for the project or program; and (3) percentage and dollar amount of the total costs of the project or program that will be financed by non-governmental sources,” it stated.
As a result, the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University is accused of violating federal law through the press releases “by failing to report the amount of taxpayer funding OHSU spent on these cruel and wasteful experiments on primates, the percentage of total costs paid for by taxpayers and how much was funded by private sources.”
Furthermore, the group claimed “virtually all of OHSU’s press releases reporting taxpayer-funded animal experiments” are in violation of the Stevens Amendment.
“The releases fail to acknowledge federal funding, and/or fail to report the amount of taxpayer money spent, and/or fail to report the percentage of the project paid for with taxpayer funds,” the letter reads.
Systemic Spending Transparency Violations
Calling it a “symptom of a broader problem,” the group then criticized those NIH grant-receiving institutions performing “wasteful” animal experiments of “widespread violations” of the Stevens Amendment, quoting a recent audit whereby NIH officials admitted to a lack of concern for compliance.
“A Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit that followed the release of WCW’s report cited our troublesome findings and wrote that, ‘NIH officials stated that they do not specifically monitor for Stevens Amendment compliance.’
“The GAO recommended that HHS (including NIH) begin enforcing the law, and HHS stated that it ‘would direct all operating divisions to design a process for implementing and monitoring the Stevens Amendment and would update HHS grants policy to reflect this new process’ and that it ‘would address any non-compliance issues if they were raised.’”
However, despite the directive, no significant change has been seen.
“Unfortunately, it appears NIH and its grantees continue to violate the law with impunity despite it being included in the NIH Grants Policy Statement under the heading ‘Acknowledgment of Federal Funding’ and the NIH issuing notices specifically reminding grantees of this transparency mandate,” the letter states.
In order to combat the violations, the letter continues, legislation was introduced requiring federal fund recipients to disclose information concerning activities that use tax-payer funds.
“To stem this rampant noncompliance and improve transparency about federal spending, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) introduced the Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act (HR 1937/S 760) to require that all recipients of federal funds abide by the conditions of the Stevens Amendment and giving the Office of Management and Budget the authority to withhold funding for noncompliance,” it reads.
Request for Action
The letter concludes by highlighting the widespread violations of transparency laws while demanding an investigation into them.
“For 30 years since the Stevens Amendment was first passed, recipients of NIH funding have been legally required to clearly disclose the cost of their projects so taxpayers are aware of how their hard-earned money is being spent,” the letter reads. “Yet, evidence shows ongoing, widespread violations of this common-sense spending transparency law. The NIH has acknowledged this problem and pledged to address it.”
“We urge you to investigate the federal transparency violations documented in this letter and hold the Oregon Health & Science University accountable for its repeated failure to properly disclose taxpayer funding for their experiments on animals,” it concludes.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Sen. Joni Ernst, who has continuously worked to root out Washington’s wasteful spending, called out the repeated violations of federal transparency law.
“Taxpayers in Iowa, and across the nation, have a right to know exactly how their hard-earned dollars are being spent,” she said. “While current law requires projects funded by some federal agencies to disclose the costs, my office has found that these agencies are largely ignoring the law and failing to comply.”
Deeming it “unacceptable,” she explained that such breaches moved her to team up with lawmakers “to ensure that every federal agency discloses the exact costs of any project.”
“The COST Act guarantees hardworking Americans have easy access to see how their tax dollars are being spent and gives them the ability to decide for themselves whether or not the price is right,” she said.
WCW was credited with exposing White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci’s “wasteful spending” on dog and monkey experiments.
The non-profit organization also leads the campaign in Congress to end them.
“From #BeagleGate to Monkey Island, White Coat Waste Project has exposed tremendous waste and abuse in taxpayer-funded animal labs funded by Dr. Fauci,” said WCW Public Policy and Communications Manager Devin Murphy. “Most taxpayers don’t want to foot the bill for maiming monkeys and poisoning puppies in wasteful experiments and they shouldn’t be forced to pay.”
On Tuesday, WCW Vice President of Public Policy Justin Goodman appeared on Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime” to sound off on the NIH’s use of taxpayer money to fund questionable animal experiments.
“The NIH is addicted to spending and unfortunately animals and taxpayers have been paying the price for decades,” he said.
In addition, a new investigation by the group exposes how the NIH wasted over $2 million to inject 6-month-old beagle puppies with cocaine and experimental drugs in “cruel and unnecessary tests” to fulfill “outdated FDA animal testing red tape.”
The non-profit also said it obtained documents through a FOIA request showing that the NIH, led by Fauci, gave Kansas State University $536,311 to conduct an experiment involving hundreds of ticks feasting on live beagle puppies injected with mutant bacteria.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.