We’re asked daily to accept a lot of ideas based on the recommendations of “experts.” It’s important to realize that “experts” — and the people who offer them data — are still fallible human beings, susceptible to error… or deliberate misconduct:
Duke University is paying the U.S. government $112.5 million to settle accusations that it submitted bogus data to win federal research grants. The settlement will also bring a $33.75 million payment to Joseph Thomas, the whistleblower who drew attention to the fraud when he worked for Duke.
The dozens of grants in question covered the study of the lung function of mice. The Justice Department says Thomas’ lawsuit alleged that “between 2006 and 2018, Duke knowingly submitted and caused to be submitted” claims to federal agencies that were unknowingly paying grant money for falsified research data.
In a letter to the university’s community, Price said, “This is a difficult moment for Duke. Citing the “devastating impact of research fraud,” he also said the school had taken numerous steps to encourage scientific integrity, improve training and archive research data.
Because Thomas brought the original lawsuit under the False Claims Act’s qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions, he stood to share in any money that was recovered from Duke. For pursuing the case on the U.S. government’s behalf, he will now receive $33,750,000 from the settlement, the Justice Department said.
Thomas’ attorneys say he stuck with the case after the government opted not to mount its own investigation after he reported his allegations and filed suit.
“In many meritorious cases, the government decides to ‘intervene’ at that stage of the proceedings, basically taking over the lead of the case,” lawyers for Thomas said. “But here, that never happened. This left Mr. Thomas and his lawyers at the point of the spear – going against a venerated academic institution with enormous resources.”
Note it was a private citizen, not the government, that ultimately forced the issue and brought accountability. That’s the problem with most government spending: too little incentive to ensure it’s doing any good. As we’ve seen with Federal funding of many “green technologies” under the past administration, Uncle Sam is often a lousy judge of potential. Is it harder to get private money? Sure. But if someone like the late Paul Allen is funding your project, you can expect to be asked regularly what their money is accomplishing. That gets better results.
Accountability: the standard of winning societies.
(Oh, and remember this anytime global warming alarmists smugly tell you “the science is settled.” Is it really?)