AUSTIN, Texas, April 2 (UPI) -- Texas' attorney general said he is investigating the grant review process of a cancer foundation and its name change, after questions arose about donations.
State Attorney General Greg Abbott also asked the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which shares its name with a state cancer prevention agency and was renamed the Texas Cancer Coalition, to stop spending or allocating funds until legal questions are resolved.
"We have serious legal concerns about the events that reportedly surround the formation of the TCC," wrote G. David Whitley, assistant deputy attorney general, in a letter Friday.
Travis County, Texas, investigators began investigating the CPRIT Foundation last year after a Dallas start-up company was awarded an $11 million grant without a business or scientific review. CPRIT is accused of mismanaging $56 million in grants, the Austin (Texas) Statesman-American said Monday.
The foundation, which shared some board members with the state agency and helps fund agency salaries and activities, has refused to disclose donors' names, despite some lawmakers' concerns donations could be used to influence the state agency's decisions on awarding grants, the newspaper said.
The name change came in March, as did discussions about pursuing a broader cancer-fighting mission and separating the foundation from the state agency, the foundation's lawyer, Craig Enoch said, but Abbott's office said state approval was required before the Texas Cancer Coalition could change its name and focus.