Following an investigation by the Texas Public Integrity Unit, a Travis County grand jury has indicted former CPRIT Chief Commercialization Officer Jerald Cobbs with securing a document by deception.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, whose office oversees the public integrity unit, said the charges stem from an $11 million grant awarded to a company now known as Peloton, a grant that Cobbs executed without telling anyone.
At the tail end of the regular legislative session, Gov. Rick Perry demanded that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resign because of her DWI arrest and conviction or have the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which is run by her office, face a loss of about $7.5 million.
Texas Democrats are outraged that Gov. Rick Perry is threatening to veto a portion of the state budget unless embattled Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg steps down.
This spring, Lehmberg was arrested and convicted for driving under the influence in which her blood alcohol was three times the legal limit.
The governor’s office confirmed that Perry is considering a veto of a portion of the state’s budget bill that funds the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which investigates government entities and is headed up by the Travis County district attorney.
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has been in troubled water over grant funding issues and a lack of transparency. In the wake of the group publicly announcing that it was shutting down its foundation, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, laid out her bill to the Senate.
"The executive director of that foundation indicated on the record that they had given my office every piece of information that we had requested and she absolutely knows that not to be true," Davis said.
Gov. Perry's announcement this week of the "fetal pain" bill is the latest in his attempts at restricting abortion in Texas; pro-life groups applaud the announcement and pro-choice groups are kicking their opposition into high gear. The governor made his announcement at a pregnancy crisis center, but what exactly is a pregnancy crisis center, and where do they get their funding? Freelance reporter Carolyn Jones investigates. Finally, problems with state-funded CPRIT continue to surface, the latest being an $11 million grant that was not reviewed before it was handed out.
Texas is home to the country’s second largest cancer-research fund, which is the largest of any state. The only entity funded at a higher level is the federal National Institutes of Health. C-PRIT has awarded almost $700 million in grants in the past three years.